Dec. 11, 2009
By Alan Rakowski
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Travis Franklin and Dorian Green each topped 20 points, and a raucous crowd of 5,293 fans helped propel Colorado State to a memorable win over rival Colorado Thursday night at Moby Arena, 77-62.
The win was CSU’s first over the Buffs since 2006. The Rams (6-3) improved to 4-0 at home, registered their first victory over CU coach Jeff Bzdelik and gave the CSU athletic department wins against the Buffs in football and men’s basketball for the first time in three years.
But CSU Head Coach Tim Miles will most remember the Moby Arena atmosphere Thursday, including a sold-out student section.
“I thought it was a phenomenal environment,” said Miles. “I thought the student participation was unreal. I thought they came out and provided a high-energy place.”
CSU fueled that energy by taking an 18-17 lead midway through the first half and never trailing again, leading the Buffs by as many as 18 points. Franklin’s 16 first-half points, en route to a game-high 22, gave CSU a 10-point lead at the break, and the Rams never looked back.
Franklin, who was body surfed by a mob of CSU students on the court after the game, got the night’s final rebound before the Rams ran out the clock. That board gave him a double-double, his second and the team’s second on the season.
“This is a big game and our fans did a great job,” said Franklin, who was the one Ram to have much success against the Buffaloes last season, totaling seven points and nine boards in last year’s meeting in Boulder. He finished just two points shy of his career high, 24, which he tallied against San Francisco Nov. 29.
Green, a true freshman point guard who posted an early career-high 21 points, converted a three-point play on the Rams’ first possession.
After a late run by Colorado that saw the Buffaloes cut the deficit to seven with 2:46 left in the game, the Rams relied on consistent foul shooting down the stretch, going 8-for-9 from the line in the last 2 minutes, to preserve the win.
The Rams, who had won just two of the last seven meetings, and only 35 of the last 121 against Colorado, played with a tremendous amount of confidence.
“I thought we were aggressive and the aggressor always wins,” Miles said.
The Buffaloes (6-4) had a five-point lead at the 15:14 mark in the first half, their largest of the contest. After see-sawing back and forth to open the game, the Rams went on a 14-6 run with just under 12 minutes to go in the first half. The Rams, who came into Thursday’s game with a plus-5.7 rebounding margin, outrebounded the Buffaloes 21-12 in the first half. They finished the game with 41 boards, to CU’s 27.
While it was Franklin leading the way for the Rams in the first half, Green was the man for CSU in the last 20 minutes. Green, who has converted on his last 20 of 22 free-throw attempts, poured in 13 points in the second half.
When CU looked poised to make a run around the 9-minute mark of the second half, junior forward Andy Ogide electrified the crowd with back-to-back dunks to put CSU back up by 15. The transfer from Ole Miss was key for the Rams again Thursday, dropping 13 points and adding eight rebounds against the Buffaloes.
“We did a good job of being unselfish today,” Ogide said. “This is the best win we’ve had since I have been up here.”
Buffaloes junior guard Cory Higgins, who came into Thursday leading Colorado in scoring (20.8 ppg), was held to just two points in the second half, and 12 in the contest. His 12 points, however, were enough to help him reach the 1,000-point milestone for his career (he now has 1,001 career points).
The win marked the first time the Rams have ever defeated Bzdelik, who had coaching stints with the Denver Nuggets of the NBA and the Air Force Falcons of the Mountain West. Bzdelik took over the CU program three years ago.
The CSU women’s basketball team looks to sweep the series Friday night as it takes on the CU women at Moby Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m. MT.
Then, 24 hours later, the CSU men return looking to keep their home record unblemished against Montana on Saturday. Tipoff is also 7 p.m. MT.