In front of a crowd of 2,910 filling Moby Arena Wednesday night, the CSU Rams proved they know magic by defeating TCU 63-57.
After allowing Texas Christian point guard Ronnie Moss to score 19 points in the first half of their conference showdown with the Horned Frogs (10-11, 2-4 MWC) Wednesday, the Rams (12-8, 3-3) made the sophomore disappear.
CSU held Moss to only two points the entire second half â€“â€“ both coming from the free throw line â€“â€“ and captured a much-needed victory in the process, snapping a three game losing streak.
Rams head coach Tim Miles joked that he didnâ€™t expect the CSU to shut down Moss the way they did after half time and gave credit to every Ram on the court for doing so.
â€œHeâ€™s really good, and we just didnâ€™t get to him aggressively enough early with all those ball screen actions,â€ the third year CSU coach said. â€œIt takes five guys on that. You have one and two on the ball, and those other guys have to fill up lanes. I thought we did a good job getting all five guys in the right spot.â€
CSU forward Greg Smith agreed with his coach and said he knew Moss couldnâ€™t keep up his hot streak throughout the game. Moss missed all seven of his attempted shots from the field in the second half.
â€œWe havenâ€™t seen him shoot like that all year,â€ Smith, a true freshman, said. â€œIt was something that we didnâ€™t think could happen, and we knew he was going to come back down to Earth at some point.â€
With a little more than five minutes to go and the game tied at 45, Andy Ogide hit a layup for the Rams, giving them the lead for good. Four more points from Ogide down the stretch, combined with seven of eight made free throws in the final two minutes of the game, were good enough for CSU to pull out the hard-fought victory.
Ogide was big for the Rams in the win, recording his first double double of the season and finishing with 14 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block.
The junior forward said that he was pleased with his effort, but added that he should have these types of numbers every game.
â€œItâ€™s about time. I should be getting a double-double every night,â€ Ogide said. â€œIâ€™m just pursuing the ball a little bit more I guess and really looking at where the ball is going to come off rebounding wise. Points, they are just going to come.â€
Ogide finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Rams got off to a slow start offensively during the first half, scoring only four points in the opening eight minutes. CSU would pick it up late in the in the half, going into the locker room tied at 29 with the Horned Frogs.
Miles credited freshman Greg Smith for being an offensive spark for the Rams in the first half.
â€œWhen no one else was doing anything, Greg was really our knight in shining armor,â€ Miles said. â€œHeâ€™s playing pretty good defense. Heâ€™s just getting better and better and he has a high ceiling for talent. He could be a good player in our league, a really good player, and I think heâ€™s getting it.â€
Smith finished the game with a team and career-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds and an assist.
With the win, the Rams improve to 9-1 in games at Moby Arena. CSU has another chance to improve their home record Saturday night as they host San Diego State.
Ogide said that Wednesdayâ€™s win can give the team momentum going into the showdown with the Aztecs.
â€œSaturday we look at as a must win again. We need that to get above .500 in conference and somehow get a post season berth.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com._