Rams poke the Cowboys

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Feb 012004
 
Authors: Steve Latuda

No Matt Nelson, no problem.

Without 7-foot center Matt Nelson, the Rams found victory,

thanks to freshman Dwight Boatner’s last second heroics. Boatner’s

game-winning bucket led to the Rams squeezing out a 75-74 overtime

victory, their third in as many games, Saturday night in the first

installment of the heated rivalry between the two teams.

“Coming here, I thought the CSU-CU game was a big deal,” Boatner

said. “I had no idea that this game was this huge.”

In a game that saw the two heavyweights exchange punches all

night, it took the awareness and hustle of the 5-11 freshman to

deliver the knockout punch that brought the Rams back to .500 in

conference play.

With 12 seconds left, and down by one, Boatner came up with a

steal that brought the packed house at Moby Arena to its feet.

But at half court, a Wyoming player pushed Boatner and, hoping

for a foul, he picked up the ball expecting a whistle.

When no whistle came, Boatner had to heave up a desperation

half-court shot that found only the backboard.

Luckily for the Rams, the scrappy freshman had the presence of

mind to run down his own rebound, and lay it in between two Cowboy

defenders.

“I just had to heave it up,” Boatner said of his shot. “I had no

idea what was going to happen. But when I got the rebound, I was

sure that it would go in.”

Wyoming, who has now fallen to 9-10, and 2-4 in the Mountain

West conference, had one last chance to win it, but David Adams’

desperation shot with 2 seconds on the clock fell short, and the

Moby fans rushed onto the court to celebrate the Rams’ victory.

“I thought David got fouled on the shot,” Wyoming head coach

Steve McClain said. “But the refs are not going to call it, and

that is the way it should be.”

If it weren’t for free throws the Rams probably would not have

won the game. The Rams hit 28 of their 36 attempts, while Wyoming

was 12-of-13 from the line. Wyoming was led by 5-11 junior guard

Jay Straight, who scored 26 points, while going 4-for-4 from the

three-point line.

“Straight is the most complete point guard in our league,” Rams

coach Dale Layer said. “I have said that ever since Day 1.”

With the victory, the Rams improve to 11-8 and 3-3 in the MWC.

They now must hit the road to face the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday

at the Pit.

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