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Colorado State 86 – New Mexico 69

February 24, 2016

The Rams played their most complete 40 minutes of the season as they bullied their way inside early and shot the lights out of the gym in the second on their way to their largest win of the season over the listless Lobos. (Lobos are lousy at keeping lists ands that’s why they have none).

It was quite a turnaround from the previous game just 3 days ago and it had fans giddy with delight for most of the 40 minutes.

CSU won the opening tap, worked the ball smartly inside to senior big Tiel Daniels who backed down UNM center Obij Aget and scored in close.  Daniels at 6’6″ over a 7’1″ Aget.  Easily.  It wasn’t size but strength and heart and it was a harbinger of what was to follow for the rest of the game.

The Rams ran out early to a 7-0 lead, the Lobos countered with an 11-point run, the Rams fought back, the Lobos countered with another run to push their lead to 21-15.   And then CSU played their best basketball as they defended consistently inside and out against the New Mexico tandem of Tim Williams and Elijah Brown and their own interior tandem of Daniels and Emmanuel Omogbo dunked and drove their way to a 37-31 lead at ther break.

The second half saw a much different attack as the Rams traded three for two for much of the early going. Antwan Scott nailed 4 of 5 from beyond the arc.  The final one was from just inside the Laporte city limit and had Lobo Elijah Brown throwing his hands in the air, looking at the sky thinking “What the heck am I supposed to do?”.  John Gillon, Joe DeCiman, and Prentiss Nixon also made bombs and the Rams lead grew to 15.

Omogbo and Daniels finished the game off by  grabbing loose balls and Gillon brought the crowd to its feet with a driving dunk  with about two minutes to go. It was reminiscent of plays made in recent years by Jesse Carr (vs UNM in 2012) and by Dorian Green to finish off a game vs Boise.  It was Gillon’s first dunk  and done so well that it had people not used to watching the Rams asking if that play was normal.
Inside of two minutes the Rams had pushed their lead to 20+, the benches emptied and all that was left was the final buzzer to go to give them a great victory.

Omogbo played his best game in a Ram uniform as he played smartly and effectively on both ends of the floor.  He used shot fakes to get his defender off balance, then put the ball on the floor and slashed his way to several strong finishes at the rim.  He grabbed nearly every available rebound. He ran the floor. He would finish with 18 points and 13 rebounds, 8 of which were on the offensive end.  Post game he gave credit to assistant coach Ross Hodge for helping him put in extra work in the gym at night working on his offensive moves.

Scott and Gillon also scored 18 and Daniels finished with 16.  Daniels’ scoring was mostly dunks of the extremely powerful variety.  Tim Williams, the forward from New Mexico , was the only Lobo to play at a winning level and delivered 17 and 7.  Th eLobos leading scorer Elijah Brown was held to 16 points, many of which came late. Ram guards Scott, Nixon, and especially JD Paige harassed him into countless misses and 5 turnovers.  Vintage D from a group that hasn’t always delivered at that level.

So there you have it.  

A great team win. 

Once again hope that there is still something left to this season.

And happiness by fans and team alike.

March is coming.

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