Nov 222011
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

It wasn’t conventional.

It wasn’t pretty.

But it was a win.

After letting Manhattan College make up 10 points in less than five minutes at the end of regulation, CSU was forced to go into overtime in a game it had led virtually the entire time.

But the Rams were able to win 91-86 in the extra frame behind six points from junior Wes Eikmeier, who ended as the high scorer on CSU with 23 in the game.

“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Eikmeier said of his play in overtime. “They were switching up defenses and doing a good job. We knew they were a team prone to fouling so as long as we were attacking them we knew we were probably going to end up at the free throw line.”

The overtime capped a wild, foul-filled evening.

There were 61 fouls called and 90 free throws attempted.

CSU (4-2) shot 54 free throws. For the night the Rams made more free throws (43) than they attempted field goals (40).

The number of free throw attempts fell two short of a CSU record, but the number of makes was the most a Ram team has ever made in a game.

“It doesn’t surprise me on back-to-back nights,” coach Tim Miles said of the high number of fouls and turnovers (30 total). “When I was a Division-II coach we played Friday-Saturday’s and that Saturday night’s always a grind. And against a team like Manhattan it’s always a street fight with those guys.”

The win helped CSU escape with a win that looked like it was in the bag.

The Rams led by 15 at half after only giving up 22 points in the opening 20 minutes. But CSU’s defensive intensity dropped off after the break.

“I think we came out really focused with high energy on defense (in the first half). We got some steals,” guard Dorian Green said. “In the second half I thought we were too complacent with our lead and didn’t have the same intensity that we started the game with.”

With seven minutes left in the game the Rams were still up by 16.

But a combination of sloppy CSU defense and clutch shooting by Manhattan allowed the game to be within a possession in the final seconds.

And Michael Alverado made the Rams pay when he hit a three in the final seconds to send the game to overtime.

“We knew they were going to fight. Just knowing who they’ve played and the way they’ve played we knew they were a fighting team until the end,” Eikmeier said. “The only disappointing part was that it was in our hands in the end. We kind of gave them the opportunity.”

But CSU was able to save face and hold on for its second consecutive win. The Rams now have a week off before playing CU-Boulder at home on Nov. 30.

“Found a way to win,” Miles said. “Wasn’t pretty, but we’re not giving it back.”

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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