The CSU menâ€™s basketball team overcame a sluggish start to beat the University of Wyoming 73-60 in its Mountain West Conference opener.
The Cowboys (7-8, 0-1) opened the game with intensity, testing the Rams, who entered the game having played eight games in 16 days since a Dec. 23 win against the University of Northern Colorado.
Wyomingâ€™s leading scorer, sophomore Desmar Jackson, set the tempo with a series of three point shots and dunks in the first half en route to scoring a game high 24 points and bringing in 7 rebounds.
CSU coach Tim Miles was impressed with the level of energy Wyoming brought to the first 15 minutes of the game.
â€œYou have to credit Wyoming, they came out with great intensity and great rhythm on offense,â€ Miles said. â€œI canâ€™t imagine them putting together a better 15 minutes. Thatâ€™s a credit to Heath (Schroyer) and that group.â€
The Rams (11-4, 1-0 MWC) rallied in the final four minutes of the first half, overcoming a double-digit deficit to cut the Cowboy lead to just 39-37.
CSU senior Andy Ogide believes the rally was a sign of the teamâ€™s character.
â€œIt shows weâ€™re resilient, weâ€™re not going to give up no matter how many points weâ€™re down,â€ Ogide said.
CSU senior guard Adam Nigon sparked the Ramsâ€™ offense with a season-best 21 points, thanks to his seven three-pointers.
â€œI was just in a good rhythm all night,â€ Nigon said. â€œI wasnâ€™t really forcing it too much. It just felt good coming out of my hand and itâ€™s a big rivalry game, so I knew I would be amped up to play this game.â€
Nigonâ€™s opportunities came from a concentrated effort by Wyoming to slow down Ramsâ€™ duo of Ogide and Travis Franklin.
Ogide finished with 13 points and 8 boards, including his second three-pointer of the season.
Franklin was held to just 4 points, making only one field goal all evening.
â€œWhen you play in conference you have to pick and choose what you want to take away. We wanted to take away Ogide and Franklin as much as we could,â€ said Wyoming coach Heath Schroyer. â€œNigon beat usâ€¦we wanted to make someone else step up and beat us and he did.â€
Perhaps the most telling offensive statistic was CSUâ€™s 22 assists on 25 made field goals, illustrating the Rams’ strong distribution efforts.
The Ramsâ€™ next contest is on the road against the University of New Mexico at The Pit on Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.
Assistant Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.