Nov. 14, 2009
Men’s basketball recap: Rams improve to 2-0 with 57-40 victory
Strong second half pushes CSU past Winston-Salem State
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
EUGENE, Ore. – It was a tale of two halves for the CSU men’s basketball team on Saturday evening, as the Rams recovered from a sloppy opening half to capture a 57-40 victory over Winston-Salem State in the second round of the BTI Tip-off tournament at McArthur Court.
Colorado State struggled offensively to open the game, committing 15 turnovers in the first half.
“We were ready to play, but we weren’t ready to be challenged,” said Head Coach Tim Miles.
Despite the turnovers, CSU was able to fight back and tie the contest, 16-16, with 6:26 remaining in the first half. Winston-Salem State responded with a 12-2 run to push its lead to 28-18 at the 2:37 mark. Neither team hit a field goal for the remainder of the half, but the Rams hit four free throws in the final 10.7 seconds to cut their deficit to 28-22 heading into the locker room.
“We just aren’t good enough at this point, but this is a team that just needs to find a way to win,” added Miles. “Tonight we had to win with defense.”
Indeed, the Rams turned up the defensive intensity, and cleaned up their ball handling in the second half, outscoring WSSU 35-12 after halftime to come away with the victory.
Including the final 2:37 of the first half, Colorado State held WSSU scoreless for a span of 9 minutes, 46 seconds - a 14-0 Rams run. During that span, CSU took its first lead of the contest, 29-28, with 14:52 remaining, and after a 6-2 run by WSSU to tie the game, CSU regained the lead for good, 37-34, on a three-point shot by Adam Nigon.
The bucket was the first of the game for Nigon, who was key in the Rams’ come-from-behind victory. The junior guard from Broomfield, Colo., tied his career high for the second straight night, pouring in 11 points in the final 6:53 of the game. He also tallied six rebounds for the Rams.
Classmate Andre McFarland, as he did the night before in a season-opening win over UC Davis, kept CSU in the contest early. McFarland hit his first two treys of the game, en route to a game-high 10 first-half points. He finished the contest with 13 points and four rebounds.
Freshman Dorian Green bounced back from a four-turnover, zero-assist first half, to finish with four assists and five turnovers in the game. He also tallied eight points and seven rebounds.
Junior forward Travis Franklin led all players with nine rebounds in the contest.
The Rams held WSSU to just 16 percent (4-for-24) from the field in the second half. CSU also held an edge in total rebounds, 48-31, but it was WSSU’s free-throw woes that allowed the Rams to stay in the game. Winston-Salem State shot just 40 percent (10-for-25) from the charity stripe, while CSU saw a marked improvement at the stripe, hitting 80 percent (20-for-25).
The Rams, who improved to 2-0 for the second straight season, and the fourth time in the last six years, will now face host Oregon in the tournament championship on Sunday afternoon. The Ducks defeated UC Davis, 95-64, on Saturday, after opening the tourney with a 94-43 win over WSSU. Tipoff between the Rams and Ducks is set for 4:30 p.m. MT.