LARAMIE, Wyo. - In the first of two meetings over the next two weeks, Colorado State went into hostile territory and escaped with a 78-73 victory over host Wyoming, Feb. 14. Picking up their seventh win in the last eight games, the Rams improved to 18-9 and moved into the top spot of the Mountain West with a 10-4 league record. The Cowboys fell to 16-11 and 6-8 in MW play. The 10-4 start also is the best 14-game record ever in MW play for the Rams and ties the school best through 14 conference games, set in 1988-89.
The Rams scored the first five points of the game on a jumper by senior guard Gian Clavell and a triple from sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon. Wyoming came back and tied it at 14 and 19. Sophomore forward Braden Koelliker knocked down back-to-back three pointers to push the lead back out to six at 25-19, but the Cowboys battled back with a 9-2 run to take their only lead of the game at 28-27 with just under seven minutes to play in the opening period. With both teams shooting well in the opening 20 minutes, CSU reclaimed the lead on the next possession on a jumper by redshirt-sophomore J.D. Paige and eventually built an eight-point halftime advantage at 41-33.
Wyoming came out in the second half strong, cutting the margin to four in the opening minute of play on a pair of baskets by Jeremy Lieberman. The Rams lead dwindled to two at 47-45, but CSU used a 9-1 run over a four-minute span to build their biggest lead of the game at 56-46 with 12:05 to go. The hosts cut into the lead and eventually got it down to one at 69-68 on Jason McManamen's 3-pointer with 2:40 to go. After single free throws by each team made it 70-69, Clavell drove the lane with 40 seconds to go, dished it to Nixon in the corner and the guard canned a three to make it a four-point game. Wyoming continued to make buckets late, but Nixon was outstanding at the free throw line in the final 15 seconds, hitting all four attempts to seal the win for CSU.
The Rams finished the game shooting 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the floor, including 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from the 3-point line. Wyoming was held to just 35.9 percent (23-of-64) from the field and 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from beyond the arc. The Rams went to the free-throw line 34 times but could only hit 21 (61.8 percent) while WYO was 17-of23 (73.9 percent) at the stripe. CSU won the battle of the boards, 45-42, and outscored the Cowboys 11-7 on second-chance points.
Clavell led the Rams in scoring with 20 points and added 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Omogbo recorded a double-double with 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, while Nixon tallied 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Wyoming was led by Justin James with 23 points, while Alan Herndon had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
IN THEIR WORDS...
Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy
(on the win)
"I thought we really came together when it counted and this is a tough place to play. II think there is something about this altitude that has its effects. We also had to juggle the fouls once again but our players found a way, and as we all know, it is a tough place to win. It was a great win. Proud of how our team came together."
Sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon
(on winning at Wyoming)
"It feels good to win on their court. It feels good to win on the road in general and we have won our last four road games and it feels amazing."
(on how they won)
"It comes down to who has more heart. It does not matter if we have seven guys or 12 guys. It just comes down to who wants it more, who has more heart, who wants to compete."
Senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo
(on defensive and offensive play)
It is like Coach Larry (Eustachy) would say, anything can happen on offense. We control our destiny on defense.
(on getting ready for this game)
It takes a lot of heart and we practice everyday on getting stops and that is what we are doing with eight guys. We are out here just trying to play as a team, play together. This team has really come a long way even when a lot of people said we were not going to do a lot of anything but we are still fighting."
STAT OF THE GAME...
• After shooting just 16-of-28 at the charity stripe for the previous 39:45, CSU hit five of six free throws in the final 15 seconds to help seal the win
• The Rams have won 10 games in the Mountain West for just the third time since the league was formed in 1999-2000, with all three coming under head coach Larry Eustachy.
• This is the first time CSU has won four consecutive Mountain West road games under Eustachy, as the last time it occurred was the 2010-11 season.
• The Rams are now 6-4 on the road this season, securing at least a .500 road record this year. They are also 5-2 in the MW away from home, assuring CSU a winning road record in league play for the second time under Eustachy.
• Colorado State is now 4-0 in the month of February
• CSU is now 15-1 (9-1 in MW play) when leading at halftime this year. Under head coach Larry Eustachy over five years, CSU is now 79-11 and 38-7 in league action when ahead at the intermission.
• Omogbo recorded his 15th double-double of the season and 10th in Mountain West play this year. The 10 ranks fifth in league annals and is two of the league record.
• Omogbo has 23 career double-doubles, tied for 14th most in league history, while his career 14 in Mountain West play is tied for seventh.
• Omogbo's 16 rebounds tie for his season high.
• Clavell has scored in double figures in 17 of 18 games this year, including 20-plus eight times
• Colorado State will take a week off before going on the road to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico, Feb. 21.
• Tip off between the Rams and Lobos at WisePies Arena (aka The Pit) is set for 8 p.m. MT as the game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
• 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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