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Colorado State snapped a three-game losing skid with its third win in three home games, defeating Northwestern State, 72-60, Nov. 24. With the victory in the final segment of the Jamaica Classic, the Rams improved to 3-3 on the year while the Demons fell to 1-5.
“It’s been a long 11 days. As crazy as this is going to sound, when we beat San Diego State at San Diego State last year, I was very proud of that team and I am just as proud of this team tonight. For our team to gather the courage with Prentiss [Nixon] out and certain guys that couldn’t just help us win tonight,” head coach Larry Eustachy said after the game, “and to muster up what it took to win the game was one of the neater moments here. We had lost three straight and had a very difficult 11 days so this was a big game for us.
Leading by four at halftime, CSU slowly pulled away in the second half of the contest, taking a double-digit lead with less than five minutes gone and never letting the margin below that threshold. During that final stanza, CSU shot 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the floor and limited NSU to just 31.0 percent (9-of-29) while converting six Demon turnovers into 11 points.
Colorado State got off to a solid offensive start, scoring the first seven points of the game in less than two minutes. NSU came back quickly and eventually took a 15-11 lead at the under-12 timeout. CSU then scored the next 10 points to go up six at 21-15. NSU again rallied to tie the game at 23, but the Rams finished the half outscoring the visitors 13-9 to take a 36-32 lead into the halftime break.
The Rams finished the game at 44.8 percent (26-of-58) from the floor, but just 29.4 percent (5-of-17) from the three-point line. Northwestern State was limited to 37.5 percent (21-of-56) on field goal attempts and 28.0 percent (7-of-25) on three-pointers. CSU won the battle of the boards 41-30, including 14 offensive rebounds.
“I think we needed a win really bad,” redshirt-sophomore Raquan Mitchell said. “It felt like everyone was giving up on us, so we came to gather as a team yesterday and talked about how bad we needed this win. Not only did we need this win, but we need to take this momentum and keep pushing forward.
Redshirt-junior guard J.D. Paige led all scorers with 19 points, while Mitchell added 16 points off the bench. Senior Che Bob posted a double-double of 13 points and a career-best of 12 rebounds and added career highs of five assists and four steals. Junior Deion James was the other Ram in double figures with 10 points and six boards. Iziahiah Sweeney led NSU with 14 points, while Jalan West was the only other Demon in double figures with 13.
Colorado State will be on the road next and head to Springfield, Mo., to take on Missouri State on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in the Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge.