Feb 252007
 
Authors: Sean Star

Five-hundred “Fear the ‘Fro” wigs, 27 points and 22 rebounds from CSU junior Jason Smith, six 3-pointers by Ram sophomore Stephan Gilling and the inspiration of three CSU seniors playing in their final home game helped propel the Rams men’s basketball team to a dominating 86-68 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys Saturday at Moby Arena.

Smith, whose 22 rebounds tied a Mountain West Conference single-game record, said his spectacular performance was motivated by his desire to give seniors Cory Lewis, Freddy Robinson and Mark Collins a memorable final home game.

“They’ve meant a lot to me,” Smith said about the three seniors after the game.

Lewis recorded his second double-double of the season with a career-high 10 assists and 11 points.

“To go out with a win in front of a good crowd is a feeling you can’t really describe,” Lewis said. “It was just one of the those games.”

Moby Arena was filled close to capacity with 8,597 fans in attendance.

Robinson started for the 44th time as a Ram and gave CSU an early 5-2 lead with a 3-pointer three minutes into the contest. The lead was never relinquished by the Rams, as they increased it to 15 points in the first half and to as many as 22 points in the second.

CSU Head Coach Dale Layer said the win was vindication for his team that was coming off consecutive road losses against two teams with phenomenal home-court advantages (Air Force and BYU).

“Sometimes you don’t get rewarded for how hard you work,” Layer said. “This could be a breakthrough game for us.”

Although not official, Smith said he likely won’t skip his senior season to enter the NBA draft this summer during a post-game news conference.

“That was not my last home game,” he said.

After trailing by 11 points at halftime, Wyoming pulled to within five points four minutes into the second half with a free throw by UW junior guard Brad Jones.

CSU would answer with a 9-0 run the next four minutes, capped off by Gillling’s first our four second-half 3-pointers.

“(Gilling) hit some daggers to lengthen the lead. He stepped up big,” Layer said.

The Rams remained in sixth place in the MWC standings with its first victory in the last three games.

CSU could finish in fifth place with a win in its final regular season game at UNLV on March 3 plus some help from Wyoming.

Despite the loss, the Cowboys got a solid effort from its two of its productive guards, sophomore Brandon Ewing and junior Jones.

Ewing and Jones combined for 56 points for the Cowboys, however they were unable to overcome the play of Smith and the Rams.

Notes: Smith recorded his 21 double-double of his career and 15 of the season. Collins appeared in his second consecutive home game, but missed his only field goal attempt. Smith had more rebounds, 22, than the entire Wyoming team with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

Men’s basketball beat writer Sean Star can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

BOXSCORE

WYO Min FGM-FGA Reb A P

Okoye 19 1-2 2 0 2

Taylor 15 1-2 5 2 2

Jones 38 7-15 5 2 24

Spencer 31 0-7 6 2 1

Ewing 38 8-19 1 2 32

Dermody 16 0-2 2 0 1

Platt 22 1-4 2 0 4

Songondo 15 0-1 0 0 0

Henson 2 0-2 1 0 0

Nelson 4 0-0 0 0 2

CSU Min FGM-FGA Reb A P

Robinson 18 3-4 2 1 9

J. Smith 36 7-10 22 3 27

Lewis 38 5-11 5 10 11

T.Smith 28 3-8 1 3 9

Gilling 24 7-10 2 1 20

Kilby 9 1-1 3 0 3

Creason 24 2-2 7 0 4

Denson 10 1-2 1 1 2

Aguilar 1 0-0 1 0 1

Surratt 1 0-0 0 0 0

Collins 1 0-1 0 0 0

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