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In the first of two meetings over the next two weeks, Colorado State went into hostile territory and escaped with a 78-73 victory over host Wyoming, Feb. 14. Picking up their seventh win in the last eight games, the Rams improved to 18-9 and moved into the top spot of the Mountain West with a 10-4 league record. The Cowboys fell to 16-11 and 6-8 in MW play. The 10-4 start also is the best 14-game record ever in MW play for the Rams and ties the school best through 14 conference games, set in 1988-89.

The Rams scored the first five points of the game on a jumper by senior guard Gian Clavell and a triple from sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon. Wyoming came back and tied it at 14 and 19. Sophomore forward Braden Koelliker knocked down back-to-back three pointers to push the lead back out to six at 25-19, but the Cowboys battled back with a 9-2 run to take their only lead of the game at 28-27 with just under seven minutes to play in the opening period. With both teams shooting well in the opening 20 minutes, CSU reclaimed the lead on the next possession on a jumper by redshirt-sophomore J.D. Paige and eventually built an eight-point halftime advantage at 41-33.

Wyoming came out in the second half strong, cutting the margin to four in the opening minute of play on a pair of baskets by Jeremy Lieberman. The Rams lead dwindled to two at 47-45, but CSU used a 9-1 run over a four-minute span to build their biggest lead of the game at 56-46 with 12:05 to go. The hosts cut into the lead and eventually got it down to one at 69-68 on Jason McManamen’s 3-pointer with 2:40 to go. After single free throws by each team made it 70-69, Clavell drove the lane with 40 seconds to go, dished it to Nixon in the corner and the guard canned a three to make it a four-point game. Wyoming continued to make buckets late, but Nixon was outstanding at the free throw line in the final 15 seconds, hitting all four attempts to seal the win for CSU.

The Rams finished the game shooting 42.4 percent (25-of-59) from the floor, including 7-of-15 (46.7 percent) from the 3-point line. Wyoming was held to just 35.9 percent (23-of-64) from the field and 31.3 percent (10-of-32) from beyond the arc. The Rams went to the free-throw line 34 times but could only hit 21 (61.8 percent) while WYO was 17-of23 (73.9 percent) at the stripe. CSU won the battle of the boards, 45-42, and outscored the Cowboys 11-7 on second-chance points. 

Clavell led the Rams in scoring with 20 points and added 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Omogbo recorded a double-double with 19 points and a season-high 16 rebounds, while Nixon tallied 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Wyoming was led by Justin James with 23 points, while Alan Herndon had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. 

Featured Image Credit: CSU Rams Gameday, Twitter