Feb. 5, 2014
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State Rams (13-10, 4-6 MW) snapped their three-game losing streak on Wednesday night with a decisive 75-57 victory over the visiting UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (15-8, 6-4 MW) at Moby Arena.
“I thought that showed a lot of character, losing three in a row and four out of five, and still being able to do what we did,” Head Coach Larry Eustachy said. “It was a big win and we handled it well; I was so impressed.”
Knowing that the Rams needed to regain its momentum and secure a win, junior guard Daniel Bejarano stepped up and flirted with a triple-double with a team-leading 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
“It was terrific,” Eustachy said of Bejarano’s performance. “That’s why I’m in coaching; to have those moments and watch a guy vounce back like that after a difficult loss. He likes to play, he’s dreamed of playing against great teams. I’m really impressed.”
While Bejarano paced the Rams, CSU also got key contributions from several players. Junior guard Jon Octeus registered 11 points and seven rebounds and J.J. Avila also reached double figures in scoring with 10 points while freshman guard Carlton Hurst had one of his best games in a Colorado State uniform with 11 points on a perfect five-for-five shooting.
As a team, the Rams started out hot and continued its efficient shooting en route to posting a 50 percent shooting percentage in the game and 47 percent (7-of-15) from the three-point line. Meanwhile, Colorado State’s defense suffocated UNLV’s guards and held the Runnin’ Rebels to just 35.6 percent shooting on the night. Junior forward Khem Birch tallied a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds and junior guard Deville Smith scored 13 points, but no other UNLV player mustered more than six points.
UNLV scored on its opening possession to take an early 2-0 lead, but the Rams quickly retook the lead at 6-4 and never relinquished that lead. Tied at 8-8, the Rams utilized a 15-5 run over 4:17 to open up a comfortable 10-point lead. Colorado State maintained its double-digit lead over UNLV for much of the first half, as the Rams went into the locker room up 41-28.
Coming out of the brief intermission, the Rams picked things up right where they had left off and pushed the lead to as much as 21 points with just over 12 minutes left. From there, the closest the Runnin’ Rebels got to CSU was 15 points as the Rams cruised to the 75-67 win.
“That’s a very talented team; probably one of the most talented teams in our conference,” Octeus said. “It feels good to get a win, especially at home where we took a couple of losses that we’re not really used to. Now it’s on to the next one; we have Air Force and we have to go into it with the same type of momentum.”
Colorado State will look to continue their momentum right into their road contest at Air Force on Saturday. The Rams will tip off against the Falcons at 2 p.m. MT and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
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