Feb. 8, 2006
Fort Collins - Guard Cory Lewis' stumbled driving to the basket as time expired and the University of New Mexico nipped Colorado State University, 80-78 in men's basketball action Thursday night in Moby Arena.
Trailing by two points with 5.5 seconds to play after UNM's David Chiotti made one of two free throws, Lewis took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the court by tripped and stumbled trying to put up a game-tying shot as time expired.
"I thought we'd be better off attacking the basket," said Rams' Coach Dale Layer of his team's final possession. "He (Lewis) had some space to attack. I was confident he'd make a good play, but it just didn't happen."
For most of the game, the Rams looked like they would win the game, leading by as many as 11 points in the second half. Leading 34-29 at intermission, CSU scored the first six points of the final half including four points by Freddy Robinson, to stretch the margin to 11, the team's largest of the game.
Robinson was a spark for the Rams. In the starting lineup, he scored a season-most 15 points by making all six of his field goal attempts including a three-pointer. But he fouled out with just under six minutes to play in the game, and his defensive presence was missed.
"Freddy Robinson played a terrific game," said Layer. "Unfortunately he fouled out. We needed him in the game defensively,"
But UNM outscored CSU, 14-3, over the next four minutes to tie the game at 43. Colorado State responded by taking an eight-point, 54-46 lead with 10 minutes, 47 seconds to play on Stephan Gilling's three-pointer, but UNM rallied with the game's next seven points.
Trailing by five when Robinson fouled out, Lobos' guard Mark Walters hit back-to-back treys to put UNM on top, 68-67 with 3:46 to play, the third and final lead change of the game. CSU would later tie the game at 68 on a Stuart Creason free throw, but UNM took a pair of five-point leads. Colorado State narrowed the gap to one point twice, the last time with 6.8 seconds to play on Lewis' two free throws.
CSU fouled Chiotti, who made the second of two free throws, setting the stage for Lewis' final try at tying the game.
Forward Michael Harrison tied Robinson for team honors with 15 points, while Lewis finished with 13. Gilling added 11. Forward Jason Smith, held below double figures for the first time in 16 games with eight points, had a game-most 10 rebounds.
Walters led all scorers with 21 points, while Chiotti had 14 points and reserve Kris Collins had 13.
Colorado State falls to 12-11 overall, 1-9 in Mountain West Conference play while New Mexico is 14-9, 5-5.
Colorado State now takes a week off before facing the University of Utah in Salt Lake City Feb. 15. The Rams are back at home playing host to UNLV at 1 p.m. Feb. 18 in Moby Arena. Tickets to all CSU games are available by calling 1-800-491-RAMS, or on line at CSURAMS.com. Tickets are also available at all King Soopers and City Market grocery store locations throughout the state of Colorado.