Dec. 22, 2011
By Danny Mattie
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Dorian Green said he knew right away that he was in for a big night as the Rams began their pregame routine Thursday night.
“In warmups,” said the Rams’ junior following his career night against the UNC Bears. “I told one of the assistant coaches, ‘I’m on fire.’ It’s just one of those feelings.”
“On fire” might be the only way to describe Green’s night. The point guard took his game to another level, tallying a career-high 36 points and finishing one three-pointer shy of the CSU school record, to lead the Rams (7-4) to a 92-78 victory over in-state rival Northern Colorado (3-8) in front of 2,148 fans at the shooter-friendly Butler-Hancock Pavilion
“It’s kind of a shooter’s gym,” added Green. “It’s a smaller gym, and I think that a lot of people shoot well in environments like that. I was just feeling it from the beginning and luckily I hit some shots early and kept it going.”
The environment was good for a number of Rams’ shooters on the night. In addition to Green’s eight treys, including a pair of incredible four-point conversions just minutes apart, classmates Wes Eikmeier (3-for-8), Pierce Hornung (1-for-1) and Greg Smith (1-for-1) also connected from beyond the arc, and the Rams’ as a team shot 13-of-24, an impressive 54.2 percent.
And while the Rams were feeling a shooter’s touch from beyond the arc, so were the Bears, initially. Colorado State, which entered the game searching for its first road victory of the season, found itself trailing UNC by as many as 5 points, 22-17, midway through the opening stanza.
The Rams remained in striking distance, and after tying the game and surrendering the lead on the subsequent trip down the floor on three straight possessions, it was – fittingly – a Green three-pointer that gave the Rams their final lead.
The trey, Green’s third of the contest, was part of a 10-2 run that switched momentum in the Rams’ favor and CSU went to the locker room with a 46-38 halftime advantage.
The Bears scratched to within two possessions, 50-44, early in the second half, but that’s when CSU put the game out of reach with a 15-0 run, that included an impressive defensive stand, a pair of offensive putbacks by senior Will Bell, a trey from Hornung, and Green’s improbable pair of four-point conversions.
“We got consecutive stops,” commented Head Coach Tim Miles of the Rams’ defensive effort during that key stretch. “We got better defense, and we stayed on the hop on offense. If we can get consecutive stops, we’ll be alright.”
When the dust had settled, the Rams were suddenly in charge, 65-44, with just under 15 minutes left in the contest. The Rams lead never dipped below double-digits for the remainder of the contest, and free-throw shooting by Eikmeier and Green in the final minute of action sealed the 92-78 victory.
Green’s 36 points were the most by a CSU player since all-Mountain West guard Marcus Walker poured in 33 against New Mexico on Feb. 28, 2009, and tied Rams greats Bill Green (vs. Northwestern in 1962) and David Evans (vs. BYU in 1996) for ninth all-time in a single-game. His eight treys also tied Evans (vs. East Carolina in 1995) for fourth in a single-game, just one behind Sean Morris, who did it twice (vs. CU in 2006 and at UNLV in 2005), and Aki Palmer (at Michigan in 2000).
Eikmeier (15 points), Bell (12), Hornung (11) and Smith (10) also finished in double-figures scoring for the Rams, who shot a season-best 59.2 percent (29-for-49) from the field and held UNC to 46.8 percent (22-for-27).
Green also finished as the Rams’ top rebounder with five boards, while junior backcourt mate Jesse Carr dished out a career-high six assists.
Tate Unruh (15 points) and Tevin Svihovec (11) led the Bears’ offensive attack. Unruh also notched a game-high six rebounds.
The Rams will now take a short break for the Christmas holiday before returning to the court Wednesday-Thursday at the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sunbowl Invitational. The Rams open the tournament against host UTEP with a 7 p.m. matchup on Wednesday.