Colorado State continued their season’s trend of winning in arenas where they’ve traditionally struggled. CSU went on the road and beat New Mexico Tuesday night by a final score of 68-56.
It was their first win in The Pit since 2007 and just their fourth win in Albuquerque in the last 40 years.
The Rams (19-9, 11-4) tried to find their way from beyond the arc early on in the first half, leading to a 2-for-10 start from the field. CSU got much of their early scoring from inside, with 10 of their first 15 points coming in the paint. Four of those points came off dunks from Nico Carvacho on consecutive possessions.
As the pace of the game picked up, so too did the performance of Gian Clavell. The senior guard totaled 12 points in the first half, keying two 7-0 CSU runs. Emmanuel Omogbo also put together a typical first half, scoring seven points and grabbing eight rebounds.
CSU took a 36-29 lead into halftime. Larry Eustachy and company got a scare when Clavell went down with a rolled ankle. He returned without missing time in the second half.
The Rams kept momentum on their side at the outset of the second half, extending their lead to nine points. UNM climbed back into the game thanks to the play of Elijah Brown, who scored 13 of his 20 points after the break. The Lobos cut CSU’s lead to two points, but wouldn’t get any closer.
Clavell caught fire from the field, scoring seven points in a row as the Rams went on an 8-0 run to extend the lead. Omogbo also put together an impressive half, adding to his point total and pulling down another six rebounds.
The senior forward recorded his 16th double-double of the season and 11th in conference play. With three regular season games remaining, Omogbo is just one double-double short of tying the Mountain West single-season record.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Omogbo – He finished with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with 14 rebounds.
BY THE NUMBERS
52 – The number of points scored from CSU’s trio of Omogbo, Clavell and Prentiss Nixon
17 – CSU points that came as a result of UNM turnovers
10 – Second chance points for the Rams, compared to just two for the Lobos
0 – Fastbreak points for UNM, a testament to CSU’s transition defense
5 – Consecutive road wins for the Rams
CSU proved even more so Tuesday that they aren’t afraid to play any conference foe in any arena. The ‘road warrior’ mentality bodes well with the Mountain West tournament two weeks away. In the meantime, CSU once again sits atop the Mountain West.
The Rams return to Fort Collins for their two final home games of the season. San Diego State comes to town first for a rematch Saturday night in Moby Arena. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.