Dec. 3, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The Colorado State Rams (6-3) came up short on Tuesday night, falling to their rival, the Colorado Buffaloes (8-1), 67-62 in front of 8,268 fans at Moby Arena.
“I thought the tougher team won,” Head Coach Larry Eustachy said. “This is a big game and it’s a tough loss. We’ll learn from it and we’ll move on.”
Junior forward J.J. Avila led the way for the Rams with a team-high 16 points and 11 rebounds while junior guard Daniel Bejarano chipped in with 15 points, but both players struggled with their shot. Avila was just four-of-19 from the field while Bejarano connected on four of his 15 shots as the Rams shot 33 percent from the field as a team.
While Colorado State struggled to make some shots, particularly in the first 10 minutes when the team was shooting just 13 percent from the field, it neutralized CU’s attack and kept within a few points of the Buffs. Colorado was held to just 40 percent shooting from the field and went three-of-19 from the three-point line.
The Buffs came in out-rebounding their opponents by 11.1 rebounds per game, 11th in the nation, but the Rams held the 40-38 advantage over the Rams in that department on Tuesday night. Colorado did as good of a job as any team has all year at forcing Colorado State into mistakes however. The Rams came into the contest leading the nation with just 7.9 turnovers per game, but were forced into 18 turnovers which CU converted into 18 points.
After an initial dry-spell from the field that found CSU trailing 19-12 with 7:03 left in the half, the Rams’ offense began to click and the team used a 15-4 lead to vault them back into the lead at 27-23. Colorado State kept the margin at four points and went into the locker room up 34-30 at halftime.
The Rams lead was as much as six points in the early stages of the second half, but led by junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie, the Buffs took a two point lead over the Rams with just over 15 minutes left in the game.
Colorado State quickly took the lead back with two free throws from Avila and kept the close lead, no more than three points, for the next ten minutes until 3:39 left in the game when CU got back-to-back three-pointers from Jaron Hopkins.
The Buffs held on to win down the stretch behind key plays from Dinwiddie, who scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half.
“They had a lot of length,” Eustachy said. “They are a physical team and they just executed better down the stretch.”
The Rams will continue their home-stand on Sunday against Southwestern Oklahoma State. The game is set to tip-off at boon and will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
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