Tim Miles had been hoping for Moby Arena to become a place where the CSU Rams could thrive. He got his wish Thursday night.
The Rams (6-3), aided by 5,293 screaming fans packing Moby Arena, beat in state-rival CU-Boulder (6-4), extending a three-game winning streak and keeping an undefeated 4-0 record at home.
Miles, CSU’s head coach, explained that the atmosphere surrounding the game played a big role in the victory.
“I thought it was a phenomenal environment,” he said. “I thought the student participation was unreal. They came out and provided a real high-energy atmosphere and that’s what we like to make Moby. There is no question that had a huge effect on the game.”
After building a 10-point lead going into halftime, the Rams continued to gain momentum throughout the second half, growing to a lead 16 points with five minutes left in the game. The Buffs weren’t ready to give up though, cutting the Rams’ lead in half with just under three minutes to play.
But that was close as CU-Boulder would get, as CSU hit timely shots, including six free throws down the stretch to pull out an impressive 77-62 win.
Rams forward Travis Franklin said that it was CSU’s will that pushed them past the Buffs.
“We wanted it more than them,” the junior said. “I knew it was going to be a close game and it was a little scary at the end, but we held together.”
Franklin came up big for the Rams during the game, posting a game-high 22 points while adding 10 rebounds and two steals. Freshman point guard Dorian Green pitched in 21 points, including a full court lay up to start the game for CSU.
Miles explained that Franklin just seemed to “jump higher tonight” and that he was most impressed with the Louisiana native’s defense.
“I thought he was better defensively tonight than what I’ve from seen him (before),” Miles said. “Granted he had 22 points and 10 rebounds, but he was really pretty good on the defensive end. He guarded some pretty good players. When he’s dialed in, he’s pretty good.”
Rams forward Andy Ogide, who had 13 points and eight rebounds in the win, said Thursday marked the biggest win of his CSU career and explained Moby is turning into an exciting place for the Rams to play.
“We are just trying to get as many games as we can at home. I think we have a pretty good home court advantage and we’re going to take advantage of it every time we step up.”
The Rams have little time to savor the win as they are scheduled to host Montana on Saturday.
Miles said that he’ll really see how much the Rams have matured and grown when they host the Grizzlies.
“I’m a lot more curious to see how we come out on Saturday,” he said. “It’s pretty easy to do what we did tonight in terms of coming out with high energy. How are we going to do it on Saturday?”
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.