All it took for the CSU Rams’ men’s basketball team to earn its
first conference victory of the season was the return of point
guard Micheal Morris and two overtimes.
Morris returned to action after missing the Rams’ last three
games with an injured hamstring, by playing 39 minutes and scoring
a career-high 24 points. All of Morris’ points came after the first
half and led the Rams to a 92-82 double-overtime victory over a
very capable San Diego State Aztec team Saturday night at
Auditorium-Arena (a.k.a Moby Arena).
“I just wanted to do whatever was best for the team,” Morris
said. “We cannot start 0-4 in the conference because that would be
a rough thing to come back from.”
With the victory the Rams now improve their conference record to
1-3 and their overall record to 9-8. With the loss the Aztecs fall
into a first place tie with the Utah Utes at 2-1 in the Mountain
West and to 11-7 overall.
Matt Nelson, 7-foot junior center who has been battling a right
knee sprain, looked at full strength once again, scoring 21 points
and pulling down 13 rebounds while playing 40 minutes in a game
that lasted almost three hours.
“Morris and Nellie were the difference tonight,” head coach Dale
Layer said of his hobbled heroes. “We missed them, and we are sure
happy to welcome them back,”
Though the Rams pulled out the victory, the Aztecs pulled down
offensive rebound after offensive rebound, allowing them to stay
neck and neck with the Rams until late in the second overtime.
The Aztecs pulled down 25 offensive rebounds, which led to 90
shots in 50 minutes of play. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, they
only made 30 of those 90.
“You can pull down all the offensive rebounds you want to,”
Aztec head coach Steve Fisher said. “But what good does it do if
you cannot convert them into made baskets when you do get
Matt Williams, who went 8-for-9 from the floor, chipped in with
21 points and 10 rebounds.
Freshman Brandon Heath lead all Aztec scorers with 26 points
while backcourt mate and Missouri transfer Wesley Stokes added
The Rams now must turn around and play an equally athletic UNLV
team that is coming off of a 76-62 road victory over Wyoming on
The Rebels (9-5, 1-2 MWC) are lead by 6-foot 7-inch junior
Odartey Blankson, who averages 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per
Blankson is a transfer from Marquette, where he spent two
seasons. As a sophomore, he averaged 8.0 points and 6.0 rebounds
The Rams must continue to defend their home court on this
three-game home stand to remain in the running in a wide-open MWC
To do that, CSU must stay healthy and focused, but Layer is
uncertain of the status of his two injured stars heading into
“Neither one (Morris and Nelson) are 100 percent, and I am sure
the Aztec game will take its toll on them,” Layer said. “We will
just try to strap them up and see if we can get some minutes out of
Nelson thinks he will be ready, and he is confident that Morris
will be ready to play as well.
“I am pretty tired right now,” Nelson said after the game. “But
I will be able to turn around and go Monday against UNLV.”
Tip time is set for 7 p.m. at the Auditorium-Arena.