Colorado State (18-9, MW 10-4) went into Tuesday night’s game second in the Mountain West in free throw shooting but it was free throw shooting that almost cost them in the end. While only going 62% from the line, they hit five of six from the charity stripe in the final 15 seconds to seal the 78-73 win over the Wyoming Cowboys (16-11, 6-8).
Sophomore guard Prentiss Nixon was the key down the stretch. While getting himself into foul trouble, he scored seven of the final eight Colorado State points including a key catch-and-shoot three pointer to put the Rams up by four with under 35 seconds remaining. He then proceeded to make four straight free throws to help seal the game and give Colorado state its fourth straight conference road win. Nixon would finish with 16 points, going 5-6 from the free throw line and 3-5 from behind the arc.
“This group of guys really understands that it’s all about tempo,” stated Nixon after the game. “We control the tempo and we control the game”.
It was tempo that almost got the better of Colorado State as Wyoming set early a quick pace in the first half. The Rams were able to slow the game down in the second half but when you add in the altitude in Laramie, it was clear that the seven man Colorado State team had very little left in the tank at the end of the game.
“I thought we really came together when it counted,“ said head coach Larry Eustachy after ending the five game losing streak to the Cowboys. “It’s a great win. Really proud of our guys and how they came together. ”
Colorado State held a 41-33 lead going into halftime mainly due to their shooting from the field. They hit 50% of their shots in the first half and the two teams combined for 12 three-pointers. The Rams would outshoot the Cowboys 42% to 36% for the game.
Colorado State did execute part of its game plan to perfection and that was limiting Wyoming to just one shot. This was in large part to senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo who recorded his 15th double-double of the season finishing with 19 points and 16 rebounds. 12 of those rebounds coming on the defensive end.
Colorado State gets a well deserved week off and won’t take to the hardwood again until next Tuesday when they face New Mexico at The Pit in Albuquerque.