On Tuesday, the Colorado State men’s basketball team picked up a big win over New Mexico in a hostile environment known as “The Pit.” Considering what happened the last time the two teams met, this victory felt even better than normal.

It was a little bit sweeter,” CSU forward Emmanuel Omogbo confessed to Ryan Edwards and Danny Williams on Mile High Sports Radio. “The fact nobody gives us a chance to go in there and actually pull it off, it makes it even better.”

The fact of the matter is, CSU has been underestimated all season. Stuck playing with only seven men, they have been forced to come together and commit to the system, in order to be successful.

“We don’t try to outscore teams because we only have seven guys…that’s not what we want to do,” explained Omogbo. “We want to make the game a little harder on the defensive end…try to turn guys over, try to frustrate people and just try to grind out wins and make it ugly, as long as it comes out in our favor.”

Though their approach may have altered when three players were deemed academically ineligible, CSU’s goals have remained consistent. Now, it is within reach.

“The plan has always been the same,” Omogbo said. “Since day one, since we started working out in the summertime. The plan is to make the NCAA tournament and try to win a Mountain West Conference Championship or a Mountain West regular season title.”

Omogbo is a big reason why those goals are now within reach. Averaging 14.4 points and 10.9 rebounds a game this season, he is also now within reach of some individual accolades. His 11 in-conference double-doubles are second in Mountain West history.

“I just go out there, rebound, try to score and give my teammates chances to win,” he said. “People just started telling me ‘oh, Kawhi [Leonard has] got the record, and it would be nice for me to break Kawhi’s record, but the win matters the most.”

Omogbo has additional motivation as well. Last year, he lost both of his parents, a niece and a nephew to a tragic house fire. One of seven children, he is trying make his family proud and perhaps help them towards a better life.

“I hope my parents are always proud of me, wherever they’re at right now,” he said. “Even though I’m the youngest, I try my hardest because, at the end of the day, every game, every night, my sisters and my brothers always call and they tell me they’re proud of me. That’s exactly what I want to hear from them.

“I play basketball. I go to class. I just try to do everything positive in my life and make sure my brothers, my sisters, my nieces and nephews that are next get an opportunity, and just put my last name on the map.”

Listen to the full interview with Emmanuel Omogbo, including what the future may hold for him and whether he thinks CSU can make a serious run in the NCAA tournament, in the podcast below.

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Catch Ryan Edwards and Danny Williams every weekday from 9a-11a on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7 or stream live any time for the best local coverage of Colorado sports from Denver’s biggest sports talk lineup.