Rams open Mountain West action with 91-77 victory over UNLV

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The Colorado State Rams used 25-3 run at the end of the first half and start of the second to propel themselves to a 91-77 win over visiting UNLV in the Mountain West opener for both teams, Dec. 28. With the victory snapping a three-game skid, the Rams improved to 9-5 and 1-0 in the league, while the Runnin’ Rebels fell to 7-7 and 0-1.

The game had three ties and seven lead changes in the early going, with UNLV leading most of the first half, but a late 10-0 run in the final 2:17 gave CSU a 46-43 halftime advantage. Both teams had good first half shooting performances, as CSU was 18-of-38 (47.4 percent) on field goal attempts while UNLV was 14-of-30 (46.7 percent). The Runnin’ Rebels hit 6-of-13 from the 3-point line, while the Rams were 5-of-14 and CSU led the battle of the boards, 22-16, including 12-4 in second chance points.

The Rams came out strong in the second half, including triples on three straight possessions by senior guard Gian Clavell to push the lead to 11 early on. CSU built it up to 15 at 61-46 with just under 16 minutes to play on the strength of a 13-0 run over 2:32. From there, the lead grew to as many as 18 and never dropped below 10 the rest of the way.

“I just wanted to play within the game. I let my team get me the ball whenever they could, and I just went to work,” Clavell said postgame.

The Rams, who were averaging 13.2 turnovers per game coming in to Wednesday’s tilt, committed just nine turnovers on the night compared to 12 from the Rebels. Colorado State assisted on 14 of 33 made field goals, and were back to their old selves on the boards, outrebounding the Rebels 47-37, including 14 on the offensive end.

Individually, the Rams were led by Clavell with season highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds, while senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo chipped in 15 points and a game-high 13 boards. Sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon dropped 15 points while junior guard Che Bob had 14. UNLV was led by Troy Baxter Jr. with 15 points.

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