SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Senior guard Gian Clavell's driving layup with 3.8 seconds remaining lifted Colorado State's men's basketball team to a thrilling 78-77 victory at defending Mountain West regular-season champion San Diego State, Jan. 28. With their first win in San Diego since 2003, the Rams improved to 14-8 overall and 6-3 in MW play, while the Aztecs fell to 11-9 and 3-5 in the MW.
CSU trailed by as many as 13 with 16:16 to play, but chipped away and got the deficit down to just 1 at 50-49 just five minutes later. From there, SDSU bounced the lead back to as many as six before the visitors were able to tie it up at 64 on a 3-pointer from senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo. The teams were again tied at 66 before Clavell refused to be denied in the final minutes, scoring CSU's final 12 points of the game, missing just a single field goal attempt down the stretch. The Rams led by as many as four at 76-72 with 1:31 to play, but the Aztecs took their final lead of the game with 10.1 seconds left on a pair of Trey Kell free throws, setting up the late game drama for the victory.
The two teams went back and forth in the first half, as there were five ties and six lead changes when the Rams took a 23-22 lead. However, the host Aztecs closed the last four minutes of the half on an 11-0 run and took a 33-23 advantage into the halftime break.
CSU hitting 45.9 percent (28-of-61) of its shots, including a blistering 61.3 percent (19-of-31) in the second half. San Diego State finished at 44.8 percent (26-of-58) on its field goal attempts. The Rams connected on 7-of-8 from the three-point arc in the second half to finish 10-of-18 (55.6 percent) for the game while the Aztecs were just 6-of-22 (27.3 percent). Free throws were again a key for CSU, as the Rams were 12-of-14 (85.7 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Rams were led by their seniors Clavell and Omogbo, who combined for 61 points on the day. Clavell scored a career-high 37 points, including going 11-of-14 from the floor in the second half, and added eight rebounds and two blocks. Omogbo also had a career high with 24 points, including a career-best four 3-pointers, while chipping in a game-high nine rebounds and three assists. SDSU had five players in double figures, led by Mailk Pope's 19 points.
IN THEIR WORDS...
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy
(on the game)
"I thought it was a game for the memory books. If you watched it on TV or you were here live or you were able to have the luxury of coaching in the game, I think everything played out perfect. Gian Clavell had four fouls. We took him out and sat him for about four seconds and then put him back in. When you've got somebody like him and Emmanuel (Omogbo), you feel like you've got a chance."
(On Gian Clavell's second half)
"That was one of the better performances--under the circumstances when you look at everything that's happened to this program from the beginning to the season to where they find ourselves now. It makes it an unbelievable storyline."
Colorado State senior guard Gian Clavell
(On today's game)
"I love San Diego State -- Coach Fisher, the players. I have always wanted to win here and I just heard that we haven't won here since 2003. I think this was my best win at Colorado State. I'm just grateful that we came here and got the win."
STAT OF THE GAME...
Senior guard Gian Clavell scored CSU's final 12 points, going 7-of-8 on all shots combined in the final four minutes of the game.
San Diego State now leads the overall series 40-39, but CSU leads 37-36 in conference meetings. The Rams picked up 13th ever win in San Diego and their first since the 2002-03 season (Feb. 1, 2003 -- 72-69).
Head coach Larry Eustachy is now 3-9 against the Aztecs all-time and 2-8 while at CSU. This was his first road win in his career against SDSU.
Clavell has now scored in double figures in all but one of his games since his return to the lineup. Clavell's previous career high was 35 in a double-overtime loss against UTEP last season.
The 55 second-half points are a season high for the Rams after scoring one shy of their season low for a first half in the opening period.
CSU evened up its road record at 4-4 this season, including 3-2 in Mountain West action.
Head coach Larry Eustachy is just two wins behind Dale Layer (103, 2001-07) for third on CSU's all-time wins list.
This was Clavell's 13th game of 20 or more points at CSU, with the Rams 9-4 in those contests.
This was the first time this season that CSU won when it was not leading with five minutes to play, but the Rams are now 14-1 this year (6-0 in MW) when leading with two minutes left.
CSU won back-to-back Mountain West road games (def. Utah State on Jan. 21) for the first time since Jan. 2016.
The Rams are now 5-2 in January
Colorado State will come back to the friendly confines of Fort Collins to host Boise State, Jan. 31.
Tip off at Moby Arena for the second game of the regular-season series between the Rams and Broncos is set for 7 p.m. MT as the game will be televised on ESPN 3. Ari Wolfe will handle the play-by-play and Richie Schueler will be the color analyst.
It will also air across the Colorado State Sports Network, including flagship KARS 102.9 FM, with Brian Roth on the play-by-play and Adam Nigon handling the analysis.
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