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
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.