It took two overtimes, but the CSU menâ€™s basketball team out-lasted TCU 95-89 in the Ramsâ€™ Mountain West opener Saturday night.
CSU shot 67 percent from the free throw line on the night, but hit eight in the second overtime to ensure the win.
Senior Will Bell scored a career-high 23 points to go along with four blocks, also a career high, but none was bigger than his rejection of TCUâ€™s Kyan Anderson with 23 seconds left that would have pulled the Horned Frogs within two.
â€œHe was finishing on dunks and layups, itâ€™s the guy that drove the ball that made the play,â€ TCU coach Jim Christian said. â€œHeâ€™s a good player, but those are the byproducts of bad rotation and not containing the dribble.â€
Bell converted on five dunks while pulling down eight rebounds, anchoring the Rams offensively and defensively.
â€œWillâ€™s an explosive guy, a powerful man,â€ Miles said. â€œHe has more finishes with the dunk, getting fouled, and then he goes up there and has a nice free throw touch.â€
The Rams had a chance to end the game in the first overtime, but couldnâ€™t stop TCUâ€™s Amric Fields from tying the game with one second left on a layup.
Junior Wes Eikmeier, who finished with 21 points, nearly prevented the game from going into overtime but couldnâ€™t sink a three pointer at the buzzer.
â€œI yelled at them after the first overtime, but I didnâ€™t yell at them before the first overtime,â€ Miles said. â€œWe just talked about bouncing back and getting back on the attack.â€
CSU finished the game with 52 points in the paint compared to 28 for TCU.
â€œWe did an awful job containing the ball and they made us pay for it,â€ Christian said. â€œThey would drop it off and we rotated poorly. Thatâ€™s the difference in the game.â€
The Horned Frogs trailed by as many as 12 with 10:07 remaining in the second half, but made two three pointers and 11 free throws to close the gap at the end of regulation.
â€œWe felt like we had chances to put them away,â€ junior guard Jesse Carr said. â€œThatâ€™s something our team needs to keep working on throughout the season.â€
CSUâ€™s conference season continues Tuesday at home against Boise State, the first conference game after the beginning of classes.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at email@example.com.