Read this story at

No. 2 Colorado State took control of the game midway through the first half and never relinquished it in an impressive 81-55 victory over No. 10 seed Air Force in 2017 Mountain West Championship quarterfinals at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, March 9. The Rams improved to 22-10 on the season, while the Falcons finished at 11-21.

Air Force came out strong, leading for the most of the first part of the game and holding a 16-12 advantage with just over six minutes gone. The Rams then put together an 11-0 run over the next 3:32, including five from sophomore forward Braden Koelliker and six from senior guard Gian Clavell, to take a 23-16 lead. The Falcons responded with eight straight to take a 24-23 lead with 8:06 to play, but the Rams’ defense got stops as the No. 2 seed scored 16 straight over an eight-minute span and led 39-26 at the break.

The Rams continued their strong defensive effort to start the final 20 minutes, scoring the first eight points and holding the Falcons to just two in the first four minutes for a 48-28 lead at the under-16 media timeout. CSU built the lead to as many as 33 in the game, maintaining complete control of the contest throughout the second half.

CSU finished the game shooting 48.4 percent (30-of-62) from the floor while limiting Air Force to 38.5 percent (20-of-52), including 36.0 percent (9-of-25) in the second half. CSU outrebounded AFA 38-26, including 10 offensive rebounds that were converted into 15 second chance points. Both teams were solid at the free throw line, as Colorado State was 13-of-15 and Air Force was 11-of-13.

Clavell led all scorers with a game-high 30 points and added seven rebounds. Sophomore Prentiss Nixon had 15 points, while senior Emmanuel Omogbo had 12. Redshirt-freshman forward Nico Carvacho finished just shy of a double-double with 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds. Air Force was led by Hayden Graham’s 15 points, while Lavell Scottie was the only other Falcon in double figures with 12.