Freshman point guard Dorian Green played all 40 minutes for the second consecutive game as the Rams defeated Utah 65-50 in Salt Lake City Wednesday night.
Green finished with 13 points, hitting all nine of his free throw attempts. Junior forward Andy Ogide led the Rams with 14 points and nine rebounds.
CSU (13-9, 4-4 MWC) led nearly the entire game, jumping out to an 18-7 lead behind three three-point baskets by junior guard Adam Nigon.
Only twice did Utah (10-12, 3-5) take the lead.
â€œWe were good at the beginning of each half and got off to quick starts,â€ said head coach Tim Miles. â€œIt is vital to a win on the road to get out early and be aggressive.â€
The Utes pulled to within one at halftime, 30-29, but CSU responded well to start the second half. Freshman Greg Smith hit a three-pointer to put the Rams up 45-39 off of a hustle play by Ogide to keep the possession alive following a missed shot.
Smith helped aid a balanced attack for the Rams. The freshman scored seven points off the bench. Senior forward Travis Busch scored a career-high 13 points and Nigon finished with nine.
It was Buschâ€™s defense, however, that drew the praise of Miles.
â€œHe did a real good job in the team defense sets. He had the right assignments and rotations and his four steals really helped set the tone for us defensively,â€ Miles said.
The Rams forced 16 Utah turnovers and held the Utes to 40 percent shooting and only 15 percent from three-point range.
Carlon Brown and Jay Watkins each scored 13 to lead Utah. Seven-footer David Foster blocked nine shots.
â€œFoster was great. He would just come out of nowhere and close the gap to block shots and disrupt our players,â€ Miles said.
Ogide had his first four shots blocked, but returned in the second half more aggressive.
â€œIâ€™m proud of Andy (Ogide) sticking with it and taking it to him (Foster) and being aggressive,â€ the head coach said.
The win leaves the Rams alone in fifth place in the Mountain West Conference.
â€œThis is a quality win for us. It puts us not necessarily where we want to be, but weâ€™ve shown a heck of a lot of progress,â€ Miles said. â€œThe kids were really excited afterwards and realized what a big win and a big step this was for them.â€
It was the second consecutive game Green played all 40 minutes, said Miles afterwards, â€œIâ€™ll rest him tomorrow.â€
The Rams return to the court quickly, taking on Wyoming (9-13, 2-6) at home in Moby Arena on Saturday.
â€œThat is a huge game for us and I hope we get the students to come out and create a raucous environment and help us sweep the season series over Wyoming,â€ Miles said.
Menâ€™s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.