Feb 162011
Authors: Kevin Lytle

A win is a win.

In a game the CSU basketball team could not afford to lose, the Rams shook off a poor first half to notch a 69-55 win against Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.

The win is the fourth consecutive road triumph for CSU (18-7, 8-3 MWC) and keeps the Rams a game and a half ahead of UNLV for third place in the Mountain West Conference.

The first half was plagued by poor decisions and turnovers by CSU.  The Rams committed 12 turnovers in the half, more than they committed in any of the last five games.

“Our mentality for execution was poor. We weren’t ready to run our stuff. We weren’t ready to handle the ball against pressure and that was disappointing,” coach Tim Miles said. “We got (our team’s) attention at half time. They refocused and came out and performed well.”
At halftime the Rams held a slim 26-23 lead.

With renewed energy after the break, the Rams quickly extended the lead to double digits.

CSU was able to get the ball to Ogide on a more regular basis as he rebounded from a poor first half.

“We didn’t do a great job of getting (Ogide) the ball in spots where he could do something with it (in the first half),” Miles said. “I just thought we did a better job of getting him the ball where he could attack in the second half.”

The forward ended the night with 20 points and eight rebounds. And his free throw shooting was key down the stretch. Only shooting 57 percent from the line on the season, Ogide managed to hit 10-of-11 attempts on the night, preventing TCU from making a run late in the game.

Despite Ogide’s impressive second half, Greg Smith was the real catalyst on Wednesday night.

Starting again in the place of Wes Eikmeier –– who continues to be limited with a foot injury –– Smith had perhaps the strongest game of his young career.

“I just came out being aggressive,” Smith said. “I’m really in a groove right now. I’m just working hard before practice and after practice, and it’s really starting to pay off.”

The sophomore forward filled up the stat sheet with a career-high 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.

“Greg was terrific all night,” Miles said. “He really was a star for us tonight, and he’s doing that more often. We’re seeing him just get better and better.”

The win sets up a key matchup between two teams with NCAA tournament aspirations on Saturday as the Rams host the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at 5 p.m.

Men’s basketball Beat Reporter Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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