It was a classic trap game scenario.
As New Mexico had their sights set on their second-place clash with Fresno State on Saturday, the Lobos first had to travel to Fort Collins to square off with Colorado State. The Rams were a team struggling in their own right, coming off three consecutive losses and sitting at two games under the .500 mark in conference play. It should've been an easy night for the Lobos. "Should've been, could've been".
Colorado State looked locked-in from the start, hanging toe-to-toe with New Mexico through the first sixteen minutes before two Antwan Scott free-throws with just under four minutes to play, kick-started an 11-7 Colorado State run to end the first half. The Rams took a 37-31 into the locker room. From there, Larry Eustachy's squad never looked back.
Scott, a senior guard, was one of the Rams' spark-plugs all evening long, spearheading a myriad of Colorado State runs that helped split the game wide open. His back-to-back three pointers to kick-off the second half, quickly turned a six point lead over the Lobos to twelve in just over a minute and a half. New Mexico never cut the lead to under eight at any point during the contest after that.
In addition to Scott, the junior duo of forward Emmanuel Omogbo and guard John Gillon, were prolific as well. The trio all finished with 18 points a piece, including a thirteen point rebounding effort by Omogbo. Senior forward Tiel Daniels added 16 points as well on an 8-10 shooting night from the field.
For New Mexico, forward Tim Williams was the lone bright spot, finishing with 17 points and 7 rebounds on a 6-8 outing. The usually explosive Elijah Brown had a rough night from behind the arc, connecting on just two three pointers on ten attempts and shooting 31% from the field as a whole. Despite his less than stellar outing, Brown still finished with 16 points in the contest. Sophomore guard Cullen Neal pitched in 10 points of his own.
The victory pushes Colorado State to a 7-8 record in conference, now a game-and-a-half back of Nevada for 5th place. The Rams will travel to Reno on Sunday to meet up with the Wolfpack, looking for the season sweep. Colorado State put together a late second half run to hold off Nevada back on February 6th.
The loss for the Lobos takes them out of a tie with Fresno State for second place in the Mountain West and into a two-way deadlock with Boise State for the third spot now. New Mexico will have their chance to get back at the Bulldogs on Saturday night when Fresno State pays a visit to "The Pit". The Bulldogs have won four of their last five since losing to San Jose State back on February 4th.