In a season where there is no clear favorite to win the conference, the Colorado State Rams and the Fresno State Bulldogs played Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins, Colorado in a matchup between two teams fighting for the chance to become the king of the Mountain West. Fresno State and Colorado State both came into the game sitting at 5-3 in conference play and in the middle of the standings. Both teams were coming off of tough fought roads games, the Bulldogs lost to San Diego State at Viejas Arena while the Rams lost control of a 12 point lead in a loss to Boise State at Taco Bell Arena.
Colorado State, who has had trouble closing out games this season, started the first half strong and never looked back as they efficiently put the game away in the second half. Stanton Kidd opened the game with the first two points of the game, as the Rams raced out to a 35-22 halftime lead. In the second half, Fresno State was never able to get the score to within single digits, while Colorado State showed why they are the top scoring team in the conference, scoring 45 second half points en route to an 80-57 win.
J.J. Avila continues to show why he should be in the conversation for conference player of the year, leading the way for the Rams with 17 points, five assists and four steals, all game highs, as well as adding nine rebounds. Tiel Daniels had one of his most productive games of the year with nine points and 10 rebounds, while John Gillon and Gian Clavell continue to be a spark off the bench, scoring 12 and 11 points, respectively. Kidd also reached the double digits in scoring, going 6-12 for 13 points.
Marvelle Harris, the conference's second leading scorer, was one of the only bright spots on the court for the Bulldogs. Harris and Cezar Guerrero led Fresno State with 16 points a piece, but couldn't find any more help, as no other Bulldog scored more than six points.
With the win, the Rams stay in the top tier of the conference at 6-3 and bring their overall record to 19-3. They face a tough one game road trip as they will head to Laramie for round two of the Border War. Wyoming, currently the top team in the conference, won the first contest between the two 60-54 back on January 7th. This is crucial game for both teams as they fight for the chance to be atop the standings. The game is on Wednesday, February 4th at 7:00 p.m. MST and can be viewed online on the MW Network.
Fresno State falls to 5-4 in the conference and 10-12 overall with the loss to Colorado State. Their next matchup is a home game against the San Jose State, where they hope to end their two game skid against the 2-18 Spartans. That game is scheduled for February 4th, at 7:00 p.m. PST and can be seen online on the MW Network.