Jan 162012
Authors: Kevin Lytle

When students closed their books on the final classes of the fall semester and headed home for a month of relaxation, the CSU men’s basketball team put its head down and got to work.

At the beginning of winter break, the Rams were 5-4, coming off two straight losses, including a shellacking at the hands of the Duke Blue Devils.

But since a win over Texas Southern on Dec. 19, it’s been nothing but success for CSU.

The Rams enter Tuesday’s game against Boise State riding a seven-game winning streak that saw a couple of blowouts, a staggering individual performance, a trophy for the display case and a heart-stopping, double-overtime win.

The streak started when CSU blasted Texas Southern 85-61. A couple of nights later the Rams travelled to Greeley to face a Northern Colorado team that made the NCAA Tournament a year ago.

And guard Dorian Green put on a show for the ages.

The junior hit an astonishing 8-10 three-pointers and finished the night with a career-high 36 points to help CSU shove UNC aside 92-78.

Just after Christmas the Rams went to El Paso to compete in the Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

In the first game, CSU beat the University of Texas-El Paso 56-53 to advance to the championship game against Jacksonville State.

The Rams won easily behind 25 points from Wes Eikmeier who was named tournament MVP after scoring 41 points in the two games combined.

Following the tournament victory CSU had nine days off before beginning a four-game home stand against the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

The Rams mauled UNO in what amounted to a game to knock off the rust and tune-up before playing a strong Denver University team.

And DU lived up to its billing as a tough, scrappy team. The Pioneers were down double-digits numerous times, but were able to narrow the gap to three in the final minute.

But some clutch free throw shooting allowed the Rams to hold on, giving them a 3-0 record against Colorado teams on the season. The win also marked the end of non-conference play for CSU. The Rams went 11-4.

With non-conference play out of the way, Mountain West action started with a bang on Saturday.

CSU hosted last season’s cellar-dwellers TCU, but it was anything but a walk in the park.

The Rams had a lead for much of the night, but a late TCU run sent the game into overtime. In overtime, CSU held a lead, but a layup in the last second sent the game to a second overtime.

Finally, CSU was able to put an end to the game when Will Bell blocked a TCU layup attempt in the late going that all but sealed the victory. It was the exclamation point on Bell’s 23 point, eight rebound, four block performance.

CSU will put its seven-game win streak on the line tonight when they host Boise State (10-6, 0-1 MW) to end the home stand.

Boise State lost its first-ever MW game with a 74-59 loss at home to Air Force.

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

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