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Colorado State earns school-record 27th win, advance to MW Tournament semis

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March 13, 2015

Even with leading scorer and likely best passer J.J. Avila going down in the first half with an ankle sprain, the Colorado State Rams men’s basketball team caught fire from outside and dominated the glass inside to win 71-59.

It began nearly perfectly for Colorado State, as they ran out to an 8-0 lead on the strength of their best players. Conversely, Fresno State couldn’t score, couldn’t even complete passes efficiently. But a slew of turnovers and a few lapses on the defensive end by the Rams helped the bulldogs make it a 11-13 game 10 minutes in.

With seemingly everything going the Rams’ way, senior forward Avila tossed up a floater and missed, then came down on an opponent’s foot, rolling his ankle badly. While Avila had to limp off the floor with help and went back into the locker room, CSU widened their lead thanks to great shooting by Gian Clavell and John Gillon. The Rams pushed the lead to 40-22 by knocking down 8-13 three-point attempts in the first half.

Fresno State came out of the locker room with energy, closing to within 12 points early in the second half. Switching from zone to man-to-man defense helped Fresno State on the defensive end, and their 8-0 run shrunk the Rams’ lead to a mere eight with 15 minutes to play. Then it was only six when with 13 minutes to go when Marvelle Harris hit from downtown.

That’s when Stanton Kidd stepped up, grabbed a rebound with one hand and went up, making an and-one attempt and roared which hyped up the whole bench. It also pushed the lead back up to 12. Colorado State capitalized on the momentum swing and remembered they had to win to help secure their NCAA Tournament hopes. The Rams out-rebounded the Bulldogs 37-28 and enjoyed 11 offensive boards. They won 71-59.

Bejarano’s 19 points and nine rebounds were game-highs that elevated his team to the victory. The win resulted in a school-record 27th victory of the season and means moving on to the third round of the MW Tournament.

“I think it’s terrific,” Bejarano said of the new school-record. “All the awards and accolades are good, but all I care about are wins.”

Tomorrow night, Colorado State faces the No. 2 seed San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team. That game is scheduled for a 9:30 pm MT tip-off and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.


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