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Men's basketball recap: Rams hold on for big win at Utah

Jan. 29, 2011

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By Nic Hallisey
Athletic Media Relations

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah—Colorado State men’s basketball Head Coach Tim Miles knows road wins in the Mountain West Conference never come easy. But, Miles’ Rams did what it took Saturday night to get a solid win over the Utah Utes, 74-68, at the Huntsman Center.

Leading by as many as 11 points in the second half, it looked as if the Rams would cruise to their second consecutive road win. However, a 24-13 run midway through the second half allowed Utah to get back in the game and tie the score, 68-68, with a David Foster layup with 2 minutes, 50 seconds to play.

Just 17 seconds later, though, Andy Ogide, who set a career high with 28 points in the win, answered back with a short jumper to put the Rams in the driver’s seat. CSU would hold Utah scoreless the remainder of the way, finishing the game on a 6-0 run.

“That was a big win for us,” Miles said. “We did enough defensively to get some stops. We got a little separation at half which was critical because we knew they were going to make a run at us. We had just enough to hang on.”

Ogide’s career performance included 20 of CSU’s 40 first-half points. His 10 rebounds gave him a double-double for the third time in his last five games, and seventh time this season. The senior shot 10-of-17 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from three-point range. Prior to the game, Ogide had connected on just four three-pointers in his career.

“I was coming into the game thinking that if I hit my first couple of shots they would respect my outside shot and I’d be able to drive,” Ogide said. “I was able to that tonight. Coach Miles told me I was going to get those looks and I knocked the down.”

A reverse layup at the 10:39 mark in the first half gave Ogide his 1,000th point as a Ram. He joins a select group of just 18 CSU players to reach that milestone, and is the first to do so since Marcus Walker did from 2008-09.

“I don’t know what it is (about playing at the Huntsman Center),” Ogide said. “The arena reminds me of my old school (Ole Miss) and that fires me up.”

Ogide has scored in double figures all five times he has played Utah in his career.

Also in double figures were Greg Smith and Adam Nigon. Smith, making his first career start in place of sophomore Wes Eikmeier, who sat out for the second consecutive game with a foot injury, scored 14 points and pulled down four rebounds. None was bigger than a one-handed putback as he fell to the ground while being fouled with 11:01 to play. After completing the free throw, CSU led 64-53 lead, its largest lead of the night. He also recorded an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper to give CSU a two-possession lead with 1:31 to play.

Nigon shot 4-of-6 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, to give him 11 points.

As a team, the Rams shot 8-of-20 (.400 percent) from long range, one game after connecting on just 5-of-26 three-point attempts.

Nigon also tied a career high with five steals, while sophomore Dorian Green tied a season high with six assists. Senior Travis Franklin had his three-game streak of 20-plus points snapped with eight points, while being limited to just 22 minutes because of foul trouble.

CSU recorded more rebounds, more steals and fewer turnovers in the win, while also shooting higher percentages from three-point range and the charity stripe.

In the first half, the game saw three ties and seven lead changes, with neither team leading by more than two possessions. After a Utes’ three-pointer 13 seconds into the second half, CSU used an 8-0 run to pull away. Despite Utah’s comeback attempt, the Rams never trailed in the second half.

“You have to credit our kids,” Miles said. “They really had an outstanding effort. Ogide was terrific. That’s as good as I’ve seen him play, and we needed a career night to beat them (Utah) here.”

The win is CSU’s fourth in five games; Utah’s three-game winning streak was snapped with the loss. It’s the second consecutive season that CSU has defeated Utah in Salt Lake City. The win is also CSU’s second consecutive road win of the season, after defeating UNLV in Las Vegas, 78-63, on Jan. 19.

“We want to be considered a great team,” Ogide said. “In order to do that, we have to win on the road. We hope to keep it up the rest of the season.”

The win gives the Rams momentum heading into its second game against a national top 10 team in 12 days.

Tipoff against San Diego State, currently the No. 4 team in both polls, is set for 7 p.m. MT on Wednesday. The game will be broadcast live on CBS College Sports, and athletic department officials are expecting another large crowd at Moby. Tickets are available online at www.CSURams.com, over the phone at 1-800-491-RAMS or in person at the McGraw Athletic Center. Students can begin picking up their free tickets Monday morning at the McGraw Athletic Center.



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