“Icing on the cake.”
That’s what CSU junior forward Travis Franklin said about his steal and dunk with one minute left to seal the Rams’ 67-56 victory over Air Force Tuesday night.
It was a game of high intensity, one which official Ed Hightower called five fouls against CSU within the first two minutes of the game, including a technical on head coach Tim Miles at the 18:22 mark. But the intensity was something the Rams were able to feed off of, even without guards Marcus Walker and Harvey Perry, who missed the game because they are currently academically ineligible.
“I think at the beginning of the season it would have been a pretty big blow to us,” said freshman guard Jesse Carr about not having Walker and Perry in the lineup. “But our team has a lot of guys who are willing to step up and I think we proved that tonight.”
Carr led the Rams (7-12, 2-3 MWC) with a career high 17 points, shooting 5-8 from long range. After hitting CSU’s opening basket, Carr felt he was in rhythm.
“Once I hit that first shot I figured I was feeling good so I decided to give myself a heat check and it ended up working out.”
Also having a career day for CSU was junior guard Arin Dunn, who played for 19 minutes scoring 10 points. Even though it was only the second time all season Dunn had seen the court, he made the most of it.
“I was just trying to be ready when the coaches called my name. I’ve been working hard in practice just trying to contribute to the team,” said Dunn.
While CSU pulled off an 11 point win, their first victory over Air Force since 2004, the game was much closer than the final score appeared as they had a 31-29 lead at the half thanks to Evan Washington’s 15-foot jumper as the half expired.
“We’re not winning games because we’re not doing the things we need to do,” said Air Force senior Grant Parker. “Colorado State out played us and we have to refocus.”
Air Force (9-9, 0-5 MWC) has lost their last six games.
CSU now has back-to-back Mountain West Conference wins at Moby Arena. Franklin believes that the Rams are making their home court a tough place to play.
“Oh yes, we are. We know we’re feeling our home court well and we’re some wins in the Mountain West. We definitely have to keep winning.”
Men’s basketball beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.