Jan 172011
 
Authors: Cris Tiller

The CSU men’s basketball team earned its second conference victory of the season on Saturday night, defeating Texas Christian University, 79-69, at Moby Arena.

The win vaults the team into third place in the Mountain West Conference behind undefeated San Diego State and Brigham Young.
The Rams’ (12-5, 2-1 MWC) victory over TCU was thanks in large part to solid shooting. The team hit 60 percent of their shots from the field for the game, including 72 percent shooting in the first half.

Senior Andy Ogide led the charge again by posting yet another double-double, scoring 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting and pulling down 11 rebounds.

Forward Travis Franklin also played a critical role in the win, after averaging just 8.3 points per contest in the previous three games. Franklin finished the night with 14 points and 3 assists.
Franklin attributed the team’s successful shooting to a balanced roster.

“We got shooters to spread the floor out, penetrators, a low post threat and we’re giving teams a different look this year,” he said.

The CSU big men were aggressive from the start and refused to let up, forcing the Horned Frogs into a back-and-forth game they simply could not keep up with. CSU outscored TCU in the paint 40 to 28.
Rams head coach Tim Miles was glad to see his team enjoy an effective inside game.

“We want to go inside every night,” Miles said. “Some nights they block nine of our shots, like Kansas, and some nights you’re able to go inside and expose people.”

Similar to Franklin, sophomore guard Jesse Carr re-emerged as a scoring threat with 10 points in just 10 minutes off the bench.

“Coming off the bench has been a little bit hard for me, and it’s kind of hard to get used to it,” Carr said. “I just need to go out there and play. I’ve been really tentative.”

The win over TCU is the second home victory against a conference opponent, as the Rams knocked off Wyoming 73-60 on Jan. 4.

The Rams posted an impressive 8-2 record over winter break, including six straight wins from Dec. 20 to Dec. 30.

The team’s six-game winning streak included an undefeated trip to Cancun, Mexico where the Rams beat Appalachian State, Ole Miss and Southern Mississippi en route to the Cancun Governor’s Cup tournament championship.

CSU then traveled to San Francisco, Calif. to compete in the Hilltop Challenge, beating both San Francisco University and Dominican (Calif.) before losing a tough game to Hampton University 77-75.

The Rams’ only other loss of the break was suffered on the road to New Mexico University, in a 68-61 game at The Pit, a notoriously difficult environment for visiting teams.

Despite a winning record over the past month, the coaches and players alike feel they let opportunities slip through they’re fingers.

“We think we dropped a couple of games that we’re not happy about,” Ogide said. “We want to be in the top three (of the MWC), so we have to be able to go into the other team’s house and get wins.”
When asked to grade his team’s progress over the past month, Miles responded quickly: “C. We have a long way to go to get better,” Miles said. “Defensive rebounding and fouling are areas to start with.”

CSU’s next game is Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Nev. against UNLV on The Mtn. at 8:30 p.m.

Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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