To win a game with no inside presence is tough; to win a game
without a leading scorer is difficult; to win a game with the only
active leading scorer having an off night…that is impossible.
CSU battled its way back from several double-digit deficits in
front of 5,519 emotional fans Saturday night at Moby Arena, but was
unable to close the gap on the bigger, healthier Utes of Utah
“We couldn’t make up for the difference in size,” said head
coach Dale Layer whose team faces Brigham Young at 10 p.m. Monday
at Moby in a nationally-televised game. “It definitely hurt us on
the rebounding end. The difference was we made runs and Andrew
Bogut got put-backs. Those were back-breaking plays.”
Indeed, the 6-foot-10 Bogut (16 points, 10 rebounds) had his way
inside against the Rams, while guards Tim Drisdom (career-high 24
points) and Nick Jacobson (22 points) kept CSU at bay with
consistent outside shooting.
Meanwhile CSU shot a paltry 39 percent from the floor on
The ugly shooting started early for the Rams as the team missed
its first nine shots and was down 12-1 until guard Dwight Boatner
hit a 3-pointer 6 minutes, 20 seconds into the first half. A
subsequent 12-6 CSU run brought the Rams within two points at
18-16, but that was the closest the team would get the rest of the
“It takes a lot out of you trying to come back against a good
team like the Utes,” said guard Micheal Morris, who kept CSU in the
game with clutch scoring. “Coach told us to push it every time we
could. We kept trying to, but didn’t have enough at the end.”
The Rams used another late run in the first half to close a
30-19 Ute lead to 34-23. Morris then converted a fade-away jumper
into a three-point play with 3.2 seconds to end the half on a high
The momentum from that shot, however, did not carry over into
the second half, as CSU quickly went down again after a series of
blown scoring opportunities.
“We had some good shots, but just couldn’t get guys to make the
shots,” Layer said.
Williams was one of many who struggled from the field, missing
his first nine shots and failing to convert until 3:40 remained in
the second half.
“Normally (Williams) is going to make those shots, but they
weren’t falling (Saturday),” Layer said of the forward who,
nevertheless, hustled his way to a game-high 11 rebounds. “He’ll
bounce back from this. … That’s what we need him to do.”
Unable to convert open looks, CSU faced a 13-point deficit
(40-27), before the team went on another run. Five free throws from
Williams and Shelton Johnson and another three-point play from
Morris, cut the Ute lead to five (42-37) and brought the crowd to
Jacobson, however, quickly hushed the crowd by making a
3-pointer and a subsequent free throw for a four-point play.
“We keep playing hard and when you play hard good things will
happen,” Layer said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way
It was going Jacobson’s way, however, thanks in part to the
standout game from Drisdom.
“I got to hand it to Drisdom, he stepped up tonight,” Jacobson
said. “It gets difficult when there are two guys on me and he’s not
making shots. He’s capable of (hitting shots) every night.”
While Drisdom took some defensive pressure off Jacobson, the
crowd applied psychological pressure. Early in the second half
Jacobson tangled with Johnson and drew the ire of the home crowd,
which booed him with each touch the rest of the game.
“I noticed them,” said Jacobson of the fans. “How could you not?
… It affected me a little. I did some things, took some quick
shots, I wouldn’t normally do. I was more aggressive. … I wanted
to make (a shot) with all the booing.”
Though unable to contain the boos, Jacobson was able to impede
another late Ram run with timely defensive stops and two late free
throws that gave Utah its winning margin.
“We’ve got to forget about this game, put it behind us,” said
Boatner, who had career high in points with 16. “We’re gonna be on
ESPN (Monday against BYU), so we’re gonna come out juiced and fired
up ready to defend our home court.”
The good: Boatner and Morris continuously brought the Rams back
into the game with clutch shots and timely steals.
The Bad: Matt Williams hustled all night, but could not get a
shot to fall. The 6-foot-6 junior missed his first nine shots
before converting a layup with 3:40 left in the game.
The Ugly: Jacobson and Johnson were jawing throughout the game,
said Jacobson of the tussle: “I have no hard feelings against (No.)
22, he was just trying to compete and that is what happens