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Senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo knocked down the game-winning three-pointer with less than five seconds to play, propelling Colorado State men’s basketball to a 56-55 Mountain West victory over visiting San Diego State, Feb. 25. With their sixth straight win and ninth in their last 10 games, the Rams remained in a tie for first place and improved to 20-9 and 12-4 in league play while the Aztecs fell to 16-12 and 8-8 in the conference.

With just under four minutes remaining in the contest, the Rams tied the game at 50 on senior guard Gian Clavell’s three-pointer. The two teams exchanged baskets, and with 2:20 left, sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon made one of two free throws to give CSU its first lead of the game at 53-52. San Diego State regained the lead with a Dakari Allen layup and made free-throw to give the visitors a two-point advantage with 23 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, CSU had one chance blocked out of bounds with just over nine seconds remaining to set up the final dramatic bucket, as SDSU was unable to connect on a desperation shot at the final buzzer. 

Both teams had a slow start with neither team scoring until two minutes into the contest. SDSU broke the early drought and went on a 10-2 run, holding the lead the entire first half. The Aztecs later went on a 12-1 run over a 4:25 span to take its biggest lead of the game at 28-15 with 5:38 to play. Struggling from the field, the Rams were stalwart in their defense, liming the visitors to just one basket in the last five minutes of the half and trailed 33-21 at the intermission. The Aztecs were solid from the floor in the opening period, shooting 48.1 percent (13-of-27) while the Rams were just 28.6 percent (8-of-28), including 1-of-12 from the three-point arc. 

The Rams opened the second half on a 9-1 run to start to close the gap from halftime to just four at 34-30, using their stifling defense to force the Aztecs to miss their first nine shots. SDSU pushed advantage back to as many as nine with its 8-3 run, but the hosts kept chipping away to set up the late-game drama.

For the game, CSU shot 31.7 percent (19-of-60) from the field, including 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from behind the three-point line. SDSU was 35.6 percent (21-of-59) from the floor and 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from the arc. The Rams won the boards, 45-37, and converted 20 offensive rebounds into an 18-9 advantage in second-chance points. CSU also went to the line 15 times, hitting 11 of them, as compared to SDSU’s six makes on just seven attempts.

Clavell led all scorers with 18 points and made it a double-double with 10 rebounds and added a career-best three blocks and four steals. Omogbo had 11 points, including his first collegiate game-winner, and 11 rebounds, while Nixon chipped in 10 points. Redshirt-freshman forward Nico Carvacho had six points and 10 rebounds. Allen led three Aztecs in double figures with 12 points and a team-best eight rebounds.