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The Colorado State men’s basketball team rallied from a 14-point second-half deficit and came away with a thrilling 80-76 win over defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop, Nov. 14. In its first game of the 2017 Jamaica Classic, the Rams improved to 2-0 on the year, while the Eagles fell to 0-2.

With 15:06 remaining in the contest, the visitors built their biggest lead of the game at 50-36 on a pair of free throws by Nych Smith. CSU went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:12 on buckets by four different Rams to trim the margin to six. The teams battled for the next six minutes before CSU took the lead for good with six minutes remaining on a put-back bucket by redshirt-sophomore Nico Carvacho to go up 69-68. From that point, the Rams led by as many as seven before junior guard Prentiss Nixon‘s free throw with 15 seconds left sealed the victory.

“My job as the point guard is to get everyone involved, and in the first half, I think I did a poor job of doing that,” Nixon said after the win. “In the second half, we started to moving the ball better and finding open people. Once we start making shots, everyone feeds off the energy. I take responsibility of the lack of offense in the first half, and I knew I needed to make a change for the second half.”

The first half was a similar to two heavyweights going at it early, with seven ties and a pair of lead changes. The Rams led by as many as four, but the Eagles never trailed again in the first half after taking a 24-22 lead with just under seven minutes to go and built it into a 39-32 halftime advantage behind seven three-pointers.

CSU finished the game shooting 46.2 percent from the field (30-of-65), including a stellar 51.5 percent (17-of-33) in the second half. Winthrop shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the floor, but were even better from the three-point arc in almost getting the win, shooting 41.7 percent (15-of-36). The Rams hit 13-of-19 at the free throw line, compared to just 9-of-14 for the Eagles.

Nixon led five Rams in double figures with 16 points along with six assists and five rebounds. Junior Deion James chipped in 14 points and five boards off the bench, while Carvacho had a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Redshirt-sophomore Raquan Mitchell and redshirt-junior J.D. Paige added 11 and 10, respectively. Winthrop was led by Anders Broman’s 22 points, as Xavier Cooks, a preseason All-Big South selection, was held to 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting, and nine rebounds.

The Colorado State men’s basketball team will now travel to Montego Bay, Jamaica for two games in the 2017 Jamaica Classic, starting with Tulane, Nov. 17. The game is scheduled to tip at 12 pm MT (2 pm ET) and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.