It was the usual CSU-Wyoming match-up Wednesday night. A close game and a rowdy crowd witnessed Wyoming's men's basketball team come into a hostile environment at Moby Arena and escape with a victory.
The Cowboys (11-8, 4-2) outplayed the Rams, as they dominated the play under the basket in the 72-67 victory in front of 8,289 people.
"The most aggressive team won tonight," head coach Dale Layer said after the game. "It is disappointing for all of us; we should be winning games at home."
Wyoming started the game off with a bang as they jumped out to a 21-4 lead early in the first half. They were prepared for the Rams, where as CSU came out slow and not ready to play.
The Cowboys created turnovers early, which lead to the Rams only scoring on three of their first 19 possessions.
"We had 30 fouls to give tonight," Wyoming head coach Steve McClain said in a post game interview. "We were going to make them work hard for everything."
CSU managed to pull things back together before halftime as they went on a 21-6 run to end the half, holding the Cowboys without a field goal for over eight minutes. The late surge brought the Rams within one point at 26-27.
"Our kids got a little excited during that stretch of the game and didn't really take care of the ball," McClain said. "But I have a lot of faith in my guards and I think they settled down after that."
Coming out of halftime, the Rams looked poised to take control of the game as they opened the half with a 3-point basket by freshman Stephan Gilling. But the Rams could only manage to build a lead of two points before Wyoming's standout freshman Brandon Ewing took control for the Cowboys.
Ewing scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half to go with his seven assists, as Wyoming built a 10-point lead.
CSU managed to make a game of it behind the play of sophomore Jason Smith. He had 10 of his game-high 18 points in a stretch that brought the Rams back to within four points.
When Smith left the game after committing his fifth foul, the Rams' chances of a comeback looked slim, considering he provided much of the offensive spark for the Rams in the second half.
Wyoming went to the free throw line and hit 9-of-12 attempts to end the game.
"Even though we lost our lead, I thought that CSU lost a lot of energy and that hurt them in the end," McClain said. "I'm proud of our kids for playing well in this environment. Brandon (Ewing) handled himself well, he just doesn't ware down."
The Cowboys were aggressive, attacking the rim and getting to the free throw line. Wyoming made 32 trips to the line compared to only 15 for the Rams. CSU was also out-rebounded 44-27 over the course of the game.
To follow Ewing's output, Wyoming was also paced by forward Daaron Brown, who had 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior center Justin Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds and made every shot he took.
Junior forward Michael Harrison chipped in with 11 points for the Rams. While senior Micheal Morris helped out with seven points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Rams fall to 12-7 on the season and 1-5 in conference, and they will have to fix their problems quickly with BYU on the horizon.
"We have to continue to get better and in the last 10 days we haven't," Layer said. "That is on me, I have to make my team better."
CSU plays host to BYU this Saturday. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Moby Arena. The Rams will attempt to break their current three-game losing streak.
CSU Starters Points Rebounds Assists
Freddy Robinson 0 0 0
Jason Smith 18 7 1
Michael Harrison 11 4 3
Cory Lewis 7 3 4
Stephan Gilling 9 1 2