Nov. 16, 2011
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
STANFORD, Calif. – The Colorado State men’s basketball team led by as many as 11 points in the first half Tuesday night, but stretches of poor shot selection and careless ball handling helped the host Stanford Cardinal erase the deficit en route to a 64-52 victory in the second round of the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off at Maples Pavilion.
With the victory, Stanford (3-0) advances to New York where they will compete in the tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden. The Rams (2-1) will move on to the consolation rounds, Nov. 21-22. Sites and opponents will be announced Thursday by the NIT.
“It’s a missed opportunity,” said Head Coach Tim Miles after the contest. “It’s disappointing because I felt like it was self-inflicted. We took too many three’s, had too many passes in the bleachers, and made too many mistakes.”
Colorado State executed early in the contest, jumping out to a 12-4 lead, and extending to a 31-20 advantage after a Wes Eikmeier jumper at the 4:56 mark of the first half. The Rams appeared to be on their way to a third straight victory to open the season, but momentum shifted in favor of Stanford over the final 4:14 of the opening half capped by a Gabe Harris 70-foot buzzer beater that helped pull the Cardinal to within two-points, 33-31 heading into intermission.
Harris’ heave was the exclamation on an 11-2 run to close out the half for the Cardinal, but CSU bounced back early in the second stanza, pushing their lead back to six points, 39-33, after three Dorian Green free throws at the 17:08 mark.
The Cardinal regained control of the contest with a 15-5 run that began with an Aaron Bright three-pointer at the 15:11 mark and ended with another Bright jumper at the 9:19 to put Stanford ahead by seven, 51-44.
After the Rams pulled to within two points, 54-52, with just more than 3 minutes left to play, Stanford closed the game on a 10-0 run (including 6-of-6 from the free-throw line) to seal the victory.
“I thought we took some questionable shots and mishandled the ball late in the game,” added Miles. “It’s hard to win on the road vs. a good opponent when you play like that.”
Eikmeier finished as the Rams’ leading scorer, tallying 13 points, two assists and three rebounds, but giving away five turnovers in the contest. Greg Smith and Jesse Carr each finished with 10 points. Smith recorded nine rebounds, but was forced into four turnovers.
Josh Owens finished with 15 points for the Cardinal, while Bright and Harris each finished with 12 points. Jarrett Mann tied Smith for game-high honors with nine boards.