Feb. 12, 2011
By Zach Balside
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Pierce Hornung picked the pocket of Dairese Gary with 8 seconds remaining in the game, sealing a 68-62 win over New Mexico at Moby Arena on Saturday night.
The win kept the Rams (17-7, 7-3 MWC) in sole possession of third place in the Mountain West Conference and helped improve the team's NCAA tournament resume. It was also Head Coach Tim Miles' first win over New Mexico (17-8, 5-5 MWC) since taking over as CSU's coach in 2007, and avenged a 68-61 loss to the Lobos in January.
"We thought we had to win this game because our goal is to make the NCAA tournament." senior forward Andy Ogide, who led the Rams in scoring with 17 points, said. "We've been saying that since the beginning of the year. We dropped a couple here at home, like San Diego State and stuff like that, so it's just a great win for our program and shows the progress we've been making."
Hornung, a sophomore forward from Arvada, Colo., made the steal as Gary was driving to the basket to pull the Lobos to within three points. Instead, Hornung forced the turnover and the ball ended up in the hands of sophomore Dorian Green. Green promptly sunk both free throws to send a crowd of 6,425 Moby maniacs into a victorious frenzy.
"Pierce just always does that," sophomore forward Greg Smith said of Hornung, who also tallied four key offensive rebounds at pivotal moments. "He'll go out and have five rebounds, but four of them are offensive. That's just Pierce's game. He's going to do the little things and make our team better."
The Rams built a big lead in the first half, in large part due to a 15-0 run in an 8:27 span to make the score 29-12. CSU took a 36-22 lead into halftime, its second biggest lead at half of the season.
New Mexico head coach Steve Alford called a timeout, and New Mexico came out of the break with vengeance, going on a 15-6 run of its own to bring the deficit to single digits for the first time since the 8:56 mark of the first half.
The Lobos pulled to within three with 47 seconds remaining after a Cameron Bairstow trey. However, CSU hit 5-of-6 free throws in the last minute to clinch the win.
Ogide notched his 17 points by shooting 7-of-11 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point land. Smith added 16 points, and Nigon had 13, including four three-pointers. Sophomore guard Dorian Green tied a career-high with seven rebounds, and added five assists to go along with eight points.
The crowd of 6,425 was the third-largest of the year at Moby Arena, and Miles acknowledged the atmosphere's importance.
"Our students are great and our band is the best band ever," Miles said. "It's really been a long time coming. We've sat through some brutality for this, but it's a great night, and we're on to the next. We've got TCU at TCU and then another run at UNLV, and we have to win both of those games, and that's what we're trying to do, so we can make it into the NCAA tournament as an at-large team. We just have to keep winning."
CSU heads to Fort Worth, Texas, to take on TCU on Wednesday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. MT and will be televised on The Mtn. The Rams were led by an Ogide double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) and won 79-69 in the first matchup between the teams Jan. 15.
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