Following the Colorado State men’s basketball team’s 80-58 win over Alcorn State on Nov. 27, senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo called the 2016-2017 campaign his “thank you” season.
“This year is kind of like my thank you season for everybody,” Omogbo said in November. “I just go out there and give it my all and rebound for everybody.”
While Omogbo did finish this Saturday’s game with 11 rebounds, he found another way to thank his teammates, coaches and the 7,856 people dressed in orange that crammed into Moby Arena to watch the first place Rams take on San Diego State.
With four seconds left on the clock and the Rams trailing by two, Omogbo rattled in a 3-pointer to secure a 56-55 victory over the Aztecs. San Diego State threw up a prayer of a shot from half court as time expired, but the last second heave fell well short.
If that was Omogbo’s way of saying thank you, the fans thanked him back by pouring out of the bleachers and swarming him under the basket.
“I was unconscious,” Omogbo said of his game-winner. “That was probably my parents that forced the ball to go in and my nieces and nephew. I knew it couldn’t have been only me.”
Omogbo tragically lost both of his parents, a niece and a nephew in a house fire last January.
“I’m so happy for E,” senior point guard Gian Clavell said following the win. “That boy has come through so much and he just hit the game winner. I’m just proud of him.”
Omogbo and the Rams are in the middle of a storybook season. Having won nine of their last 10 games, the undermanned Rams have managed to stay in the hunt for their first regular season conference title since 1990 no matter what the season has thrown at them.
When Omogbo dubbed this season his “thank you” season, he was coming off of his third-straight double-double. His game-winner gave him 11 points to go along with his 11 rebounds and secured his 17th double-double on the season.
Omogbo is currently averaging 14.4 points per game, putting him in the tenth spot in the Mountain West. He leads the conference in rebounding. His 10.9 rebounds per game is nearly two rebounds higher than Nevada’s Jordan Caroline, the next closest player.
Following the win, Omogbo confessed that he’d never hit a game-winner before. But as he learned on Saturday, there is a first time for everything.
“I’ve never hit a game-winner,” Omogbo said. “That was my first one.”
Nevertheless, Omogbo wanted the ball with the game on the line.
“I wanted to take it,” Omogbo said of the final shot. “I was hesitating a little bit because I missed the three (earlier) but I mean it was a last second shot. I had to shoot it. I couldn’t kick it out.”
With a conference record of 12-4, the Rams are currently tied with Nevada for first place in the Mountain West. The Rams will close out the season on March 4 with a game at Nevada that could likely decide the Mountain West championship.
Despite the victory, the Rams know they still have to get through the second edition of the Border War on Tuesday when Wyoming comes into Moby Arena.
Clavell made it clear that the Rams know the importance of Tuesday night’s game with a championship on the line.
“The job ain’t done yet,” Clavell said.