On Nov. 15 in a game against Stanford, CSU forward Pierce Hornung suffered a concussion. Monday night the junior took the floor for the first time since getting hurt, and he didnâ€™t waste any time getting back into the action, helping to lead CSU (6-4) to an easy 85-61 win over Texas Southern (1-8).
Hornung first entered the action about two minutes into the game, and just over two minutes later he had already racked up six points, four rebounds and a block.
â€œIâ€™ve been out a long time so I was really anxious to get back out there and try to help the team win,â€ Hornung said.
His first touch of the ball came when he grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in for the score. A couple of possessions later he did the same thing.
On the night he finished with seven points, 11 rebounds and three steals in 21 minutes of action.
â€œHe makes all of those little plays,â€ guard Wes Eikmeier said. â€œYou see why the fans love him so much, itâ€™s because heâ€™s always out there giving 100 percent. We missed him and weâ€™re glad heâ€™s back.â€
His play alleviated any fears that he would need some time to regain the form that he had before suffering the concussion.
â€œPierce is a really good player,â€ coach Tim Miles said. â€œHe brings a lot of things that matter to winning to a team.â€
And while the return of Hornung is the main story, and the biggest key for CSU moving forward on the season, the Rams also got star performances from two veteran guards, Dorian Green and Eikmeier.
Green led the charge in a first half that saw CSU enter the break with a 20-point lead. The junior scored 12 points in the first, including two three-pointers. He ended the game with 15 points.
Eikmeier continued the solid play he has had all season.
He had two evenly balanced halves, scoring 13 in the first and 12 in the second. He went 4-7 from behind-the-arc to finish with 25 points, which tied a career-high. He would have had a chance to break it if not for being pulled with over six minutes remaining with the game in hand.
â€œAlmost every night Wes has his touch,â€ Hornung joked after the game.
The win comes after the Rams went 12 days without playing a game following an 87-64 loss to Duke on Dec. 7.
CSU now heads to Greeley to face the University of Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Thursday.
â€œThey were in the NCAA Tournament last year, we werenâ€™t,â€ Miles said. â€œWe know this. The last time we were there (in 2009, a 70-63 win for UNC) they stormed the floor. Thatâ€™s a big game for them and a big for us.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.