Feb 272005
 
Authors: Paul Baker

People who weren't at Moby Arena Saturday night missed one of the most exciting games of the year, as the Rams used overtime to get past the Wyoming Cowboys 96-94 in front of about 7,900 fans.

Saturday was Senior Night for the Rams, and it represented the night perfectly. CSU was led by center Matt Nelson, who had a team-high of 31 points, forward Matt Williams, who scored 18 points, and guard Jon Rakiecki, who put up 17 points. All three players were seniors playing their last game at Moby.

"Our seniors played great tonight," said head coach Dale Layer. "They're incredible people and represented Colorado State well."

With two minutes left in the game and the Rams down by three, freshman Sean Morris came up with a huge 3-point basket that pulled CSU even with the Cowboys, and also got the crowd going.

"This kind of game is expected between the two teams," Williams said. "It was an awesome atmosphere tonight. Credit the fans and the students; they helped us out a lot tonight.

On the ensuing possession for the Rams, junior guard Micheal Morris stole the ball from Wyoming guard Jay Straight and ran down the court for an uncontested dunk to put the Rams up by two, 79-77. The Cowboys tied the game with two free throws by Dio Sherrell with three seconds left.

On the inbounds play, CSU threw the ball out of bounds and turned it over, giving the ball back to Wyoming under the Rams' basket with three seconds to work with. A good defensive play by Williams and a missed shot by Wyoming center Alex Dunn sent the game into overtime.

In the overtime period, the Rams used free throw shooting to inch past the Cowboys. CSU went to the line 15 times in the extra period and made 11 of them.

One player that the Rams couldn't stop was senior guard Straight. He had a career-high 41 points in the loss.

"He (Straight) had an amazing game tonight," Rakiecki said. "We had no answer for him, but we were able to limit the other guys."

The Rams held Straight in check during first half, holding him to only six points. But in the second half and overtime combined, he let loose with 35 points.

The teams were pretty even in the first half, combining for six lead changes and tying the game nine times. The Rams led at half by a narrow margin 38-37.

The Rams now sit at 11-15 overall and 3-10 in the conference. They now look at a week off to rest and prepare for Saturday, when they travel to New Mexico's "The Pit" for the season's final game.

With the loss, the Cowboys dropped to 15-11 on the season and 7-6 in the Mountain West.

"It was an emotional night for us all," Nelson said. "Now we have to go down to New Mexico, and we'll see what happens."

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