Nov 102003
Authors: Vince Blaser

The CSU men’s basketball team was beat by a buzzer-beater in its

first game exhibition game of the season Tuesday.

Former UCLA forward Matt Barnes’ last-second shot from

three-point range lifted EA Sports, a collection of former college

players, over the Rams 82-80 at Moby Arena.

After a second-half comeback in an up-and-down game, the Rams

seemed to have the win in their grasp when center Matt Nelson was

fouled with 1.2 seconds to go and CSU was up 80-79. However, Nelson

missed his first foul shot of a one-and-one and EA Sports called

time out with 0.9 seconds left. Former UCLA star and NBA

first-round draft pick Ed O’Bannon launched the ball downcourt to

Barnes, who turned and hit a three-pointer as time expired.

“It was a tough way to lose,” CSU coach Dale Layer said. “I was

pleased by our comeback, I think we did some good things to claw

back in the game.”

With point guard Derrick Stevens out with tendonitis in his foot

and point guard Michael Morris limited to nine minutes with a sore

groin, Layer played freshman point guard Dwight Boatner 31 minutes.

The freshman looked solid early, as the Rams built an early lead,

but CSU began committing turnovers and EA Sports took a 42-40

halftime lead.

After hitting a three-point basket to start the second half,

Boatner committed three consecutive turnovers, and EA Sports went

on an 8-0 run, led by former Gonzaga guard Quentin Hall, to take a

51-43 lead with 16:54 left in the second half. Hall had 19 of his

21 points in the second half.

“When you have a freshman point guard, it’s a struggle at times

and it was for (Boatner),” Layer said. “But all in all, I’ll take

his effort and he’ll get better.”

The Rams responded with their own 11-2 run beginning when guard

Freddy Robinson beat two EA defenders for a layup and a foul with

9:08 left to make the score 63-56.

Then Rams’ forward Matt Williams took over. The junior hit four

straight shots to bring the Rams within one with seven minutes to

play. Williams led the Rams with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting.

“I just kind of got into a rhythm,” Williams said. “They were

clamping down on (Nelson) so much, worrying about him, it kind of

freed me up a little bit.”

Nelson scored 13 and had 4 assists despite being double- and

triple-teamed all game. Shooting guard Shelton Johnson also had an

impressive game with 10 points and a baseline up-and-under move for

a layup to give the Rams an 80-79 lead with under a minute to


“We’ve got to play for the full 40 minutes,” Johnson said.

“Playing guys like that will help us a lot.”

Layer said the most glaring weakness for the Rams was their

inability to keep EA Sports from getting offensive rebounds.

The Rams have one more home exhibition game Monday against the

University of Northern Colorado before opening the season against

BYU-Hawaii on Nov. 22 at Moby.




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