DENVER – Colorado State menâ€™s basketballâ€™s first road trip of the season against Denver was groundbreaking in a 77-66 win for the Rams that snapped the Pioneersâ€™ home winning streak, which was the sixth-longest in the country.
It is the first win against a non-conference, in-state team on the road under CSU coach Tim Miles.
â€œIt was a good win, I think weâ€™re finally the type of team that can do these things,â€ Miles said. â€œItâ€™s an exciting time. I thought the kids did a nice job today.â€
The Rams (2-0, 0-0 MWC) got off to a slow start Thursday night, falling behind early to DU (0-4, 0-0 SBC), 11-2, minutes into the game.
CSU settled into the flow of the game with a 9-0 run of its own to level the game at 11 points apiece and managed to take its first lead on the night midway through the first half.
A sense of intensity was present throughout much of the first half after CSU senior forward Travis Franklin was blocked on a dunk attempt from behind that he thought should have been called a foul.
â€œOh man, I knew it was an away game, but I donâ€™t know,â€ Franklin said. â€œYou have to live with those calls in an away game, but Iâ€™m OK, it didnâ€™t hurt.â€
Franklin finished with a team-high 22 points in 31 minutes and brought down 6 rebounds.
Later in the half, forward Andy Ogide was involved in what appeared to be a borderline no-call where he hit a Pioneerâ€™s player in the face, leading the referees to review the play and issue both coaches a warning.
CSU entered halftime with a slim 38-34 edge on 62.5 percent shooting.
The second half for the Rams was significantly better, opening up a double-digit lead, and even held a 15 point margin late in the half.
CSU made its biggest impact in the paint, getting contributions from Ogide, who scored 15 points, and reserve forward Pierce Hornung.
Hornung, an Arvada native, came off the bench to add 11 points, 3 boards and 3 steals.
â€œPierce is a Colorado kid now, so he came out with a mission too,â€ Miles said. â€œPierce is that kind of player. He can be really productive.â€
Another key to the Ramsâ€™ victory was balance on offense and a second straight strong defensive performance.
â€œWe were just trying to get the ball from the high post to the block, and we did a pretty good job of that midway through the first half and in the second half,â€ Ogide said.
DU was held to 45 percent from the field and committed 13 turnovers compared to only 9 assists.
One black eye from Thursday nightâ€™s game for CSU was the teamâ€™s less-than-impressive display from the free throw line, shooting below 65 percent.
â€œI really donâ€™t know whatâ€™s going on with that,â€ Miles said. â€œWeâ€™ll get that. Iâ€™m not ready to make that a mind game with them yet.â€
CSUâ€™s next game is back at home when it faces Sam Houston State Nov. 27 at 7 p.m.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.