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Colorado Edges CSU, 73-70

Jesse Woodard lays the ball in as Colorado's Jermyl Jackson defends during the first half.

Jesse Woodard lays the ball in as Colorado's Jermyl Jackson defends during the first half.

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP)- Richard Roby received a fat lip and two bloody noses for his work inside the lane. The wounds were well worth it. Roby finished with 18 points and had a crucial rebound and assist late in the game to help the Colorado Buffaloes hold off Colorado State for a 73-70 win on Saturday night.

"I got banged up," Roby said. "But I'm feeling great."

The win ended Colorado's three-game losing streak. It was also the Buffaloes' first win at Moby Arena in four years, snapping the Rams' 24-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents in the process.

"This has been a great rivalry. Every game I've played against them has been like this," Roby said. "It's been down to the wire and we expected it. They made big shots. We made big shots. We were fortunate to come out of here with a win."

Colorado (6-5) had been idle for the last 10 days, but showed no signs of sluggishness, leading by as many as 12 points in the first half. However, the Rams (5-7) rallied back to take a 70-68 lead with 1:15 left on Willis Gardner's 3-pointer.

Cory Higgins was then fouled and made the first free throw. He missed the second, and Roby swooped into the lane _ getting clobbered by an elbow _ and tipped the ball out to Marcus Hall.

The Buffaloes reset their offense and with 31.3 seconds remaining, Roby found a wide-open Marcus King-Stockton under the basket for an easy layup, giving Colorado a 71-70 lead.

Stuart Creason's six-foot jumper missed the rim, and Hall wrapped up the game by hitting two free throws with 11 seconds remaining.

Gardner's off-balance 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short of the rim.

"We just didn't get it done," said Rams coach Tim Miles, whose team dropped their fourth straight game.

King-Stockton was as surprised as anyone that he wound up open under the basket. The play was designed to go to Roby in the corner. Even the Rams knew that, and two defenders collapsed on him, leaving King-Stockton all alone.

"I was like the third option on that play," he said. "I'm just glad I could contribute."

He did a little more than just contribute.

King-Stockton also banked in a clutch free throw late in the second half and blocked a jumper by Creason with 1:45 remaining.

"He stepped up big," Roby said.And then Roby broke into a grin.

"He made the game-winning bucket off my assist," Roby said. Colorado State was led in scoring by Marcus Walker, who finished with 17 points. Creason added 14 and Gardner had 13.

"We were more focused, more intense in the second half," Gardner said. "We started out bad, regrouped and got back into it. This was a tough loss."

Xavier Silas had 16 points for Colorado, including four 3-pointers. Higgins finished with 13 points, and also had seven assists.

Colorado coach Jeff Bzdelik is now 5-0 lifetime against the Rams, with four of the wins coming as head coach at Air Force.

Despite the win, Bzdelik saw plenty of things the Buffaloes needed to address. Namely, perimeter defense. The Buffaloes gave up a season-high 12 3-pointers to Colorado State.

Yet he was pleased with his team's ability to keep their composure after losing the lead. Colorado blew a double-digit lead in a 67-65 loss to New Orleans on Dec. 12.

"We have a long road ahead of us," Bzdelik said. "It's all about steps. We have gotten them to be more competitive. This time, we played through a bad stretch and won it." Even if it meant getting a little bloody. Not that Roby minded.

"That's basketball," he said. "It's a physical sport. You have to play through it."

 

 

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