Jan. 25, 2014
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a game that came down to the final possession, the Colorado State prevailed 62-57 over the Lobos, with its first victory at The Pit since 1998.
CSU completes its first season sweep, improving to 14-4 and 6-1 in the Mountain West, while New Mexico falls to 7-11 and 2-5. With the UNLV loss at Fresno State earlier in the day, the Rams now have sole possession of first place in the Mountain West for the first time this year.
Gritt Ryder, who was one of two Rams in double figures, made two late free-throws where the rest of the team struggled, and then an enormous three-pointer with less than a minute remaining. The Lobos had the ball on the final possession and got off two three-point attempts to try and tie, but neither would fall. Nystrom corralled the rebound and dished it off to AJ Newton, who put the game out of reach at the line.
“Let’s give New Mexico some credit,” said Head Coach Ryun Williams. “They really came out that second half. Defensively, they were pretty disruptive. We weathered it. We did just enough. AJ (Newton) was pretty solid again to start that (second) half. That’s what you got to do to win on the road. It wasn’t as clean of a performance as you would’ve liked offensively, but we just kept guarding. That’s what this group does. I don’t know how many times we’ve said it, but they just keep finding a way.”
Straying from the norm, CSU struggled at the charity stripe, especially in the first half, converting just one-of-seven attempts. The mental woes continued the rest of the way, and the team finished the night shooting just 47.8 percent from the line (11-23).
Junior AJ Newton was on fire from deep early on, shooting 3-3 from beyond the arc in the first frame. Her first miss was at the halftime buzzer when she threw up a desperation attempt. She was the first to 10 points for either squad and finished the day with a career-high 24 points and a team-high four assists.
Ryder tallied her third double-double on the year, this time in the points and rebounds columns. She registered 15 points and a career-best 10 boards.
Sam Martin missed a few minutes toward the end of the first stanza because of foul trouble. The senior was slapped with her third violation with 15 minutes to play in the second half, and her fourth at the 9:35 mark, but it wouldn’t limit her time on the court. She played 30 minutes of the contest, never fouling out with nine points and six off the glass.
Caitlin Duffy also played a real aggressive game, fighting for numerous loose balls and rebounds. She recorded eight points and six boards on the evening.
Newton was tasked with guarding the Lobos leading scorer, Antiesha Brown. Averaging 13.3 points this season, she was held to just seven. Sara Halasz, who has been leading the team in scoring in league action, was held to just two points.
Colorado State returns home to open a two-game stand beginning with Nevada on Wednesday. Tipoff at Moby Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.
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