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Colorado State men’s basketball jumped out to the early lead and never let it go, earning a 64-56 win at Utah State, Jan. 21. With the victory, the Rams improved to 12-8 and 4-3 in Mountain West while the Aggies slid to 8-10 overall and 2-5 in league action.
The Rams opened strong with an 11-4 run over the first five minutes of the game, spurred by senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo and sophomore Prentiss Nixon in that run. The Rams built it quickly to a 13-point margin on the strength of 51.9 percent (14-of-27) field goal shooting in the opening period and eventually led by 12 at the halftime break, 35-23.
CSU withstood some early surges from Utah State in the final period, but the visitors were able to build the lead to as many as 16 in the second half. The Aggies had a 7-2 run to cut it to a nine-point margin with just over four minutes to go and later six with 1:15 to play. However, the Rams were clutch down the stretch at the charity stripe, connecting on all six attempts in that final segment to seal victory.
“I told them that they (Utah State) are going to make a run, the crowd is going to get into it and we were going to have to overcome it,” head coach Larry Eustachy said. “And I thought we did and that we made some big baskets and grabbed some big-time loose balls and rebounds. It kind of looked like a circus out there the last 30 seconds, but we’ll learn from that 30 seconds. We also learned a lot about tempo and showed a lot more patience, even when we ran it down to a few seconds and had a tough shot.”
Colorado State finished the game at 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the floor while limiting Utah State to just 36.7 percent (22-of-60) on its field goal attempts, including 15.8 percent (3-of-19) from the three-point line. The Rams were 12-of-17 at the free throw line as compared to the Aggies 9-of-17. CSU outrebounded USU 41-37, while both teams committed 12 turnovers.
Omogbo led all scorers with 20 points and a game-high 16 rebounds, his league-leading 10th double-double this season. Senior guard Gian Clavell had 15 points, while Nixon added 14 and redshirt-sophomore guard J.D. Paige chipped in eight. Utah State was led by Jalen Moore with 14 while Koby McEwen was the only other Aggie in double figures with 13.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter, CSU Men’s Basketball