Jan. 29, 2014Final Stats | Quotes | Photo Gallery 1 | Photo Gallery 2
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State Rams (15-4, 7-1 MW) remained atop the Mountain West standings on Wednesday night after narrowly defeating the Nevada Wolf Pack (9-10, 4-4 MW), 71-64, in front of 1,202 fans at Moby Arena.
Four Rams finished in double figures for scoring, led by junior guard Gritt Ryder who paced the team with 18 points and six rebounds. Senior forward Sam Martin finished with 13 points and five rebounds, while freshman forward Elin Gustavsson had 11 points and six rebounds and freshman guard Ellen Nystrom once again flirted with a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
"That was a character win by our kids," Head Coach Ryun Williams said. "You give up 25 offensive boards and still find a way to win, that's just this group; they keep finding a way."
The Rams started out firing on all cylinders as Nystrom set up three quick baskets to fellow Swede Gustavsson. Ryder also scored six quick points as the Rams raced out to a 16-10 lead just seven minutes into the game.
Colorado State's lead grew to as much as eight points in the first half, but Nevada made the most of second-chance opportunities to stick around in the game. While Colorado State seemingly led in almost every single statistical measure in the first half, the Wolf Pack utilized the eight extra shots they had compared to CSU and ended the half on an 8-0 run to snag a 31-30 lead heading into the intermission.
The Rams regrouped in the first couple of minutes of the second half and regained the lead at 40-37, but once again, Nevada came charging back with offensive rebounds. In the game, the Wolf Pack hauled down 25 offensive rebounds, the most CSU has allowed this season, which propelled them to outshoot the Rams by 20 shot attempts, 74-54.
"It's frustrating when you guard for 25 seconds, then another 25 seconds," Ryder said. "It's not a skill, it's toughness, which we should be able to do and we're definitely going to work on that before the game on Saturday."
The game featured nine ties and 13 lead changes with most of them coming in the second half as the two teams battled for control of the game down the stretch. Led by key defensive efforts, the Rams contained each of Nevada's top three scorers, Danika Sharp, Terilyn Moe and Mimi Mungedi. The trio came into the game averaging a combined 36.3 points per game, but they were held to just 18 points on 6-30 shooting.
With the game in the balance and CSU leading 65-64 with 1:57 left in the game, the Rams rose to the occasion and finished the game on a 6-0 run to take down Nevada 71-64. Ryder once again proved to be a clutch performer, making three free throws in the final minute and assisting on a crucial layup with 1:32 left in the game.
"We are here to turn this thing into a winning program and we're doing that," Williams said.
Colorado State returns to action on Saturday with another crucial Mountain West matchup against the San Diego Aztecs at Moby Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT and the game will be streamed on the Mountain West Network.
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