FORT COLLINS, Colo. For the first time in the last five meetings, the home team got the victory in the hoops version of the Rocky Mountain Showdown as Colorado State picked up its second straight win over Colorado, 72-63, Dec. 2. With the victory, the Rams improved to 4-4 on the year while giving the visiting Buffaloes their first loss of the year, dropping CU to 6-1.
Leading 38-35 at the halftime break, the home Rams gave up the first bucket of the half but then went on a 9-2 run to build the lead to 47-39 five minutes into the final period. Colorado State continued to build on that advantage over the next seven-plus minutes, capped by redshirt-sophomore guard Anthony Bonner's three, to go up 63-46 with 7:40 remaining. CU would not go away, cutting it down to just a four-point margin in the final minute, but the Rams connected on five of six free-throw attempts in that span to seal the win.
The opening 20 minutes of the game was a battle, as the game was tied five times and the lead changed hands nine times. CSU built as much as a seven-point lead but CU chipped back into it and took a 33-32 lead with 1:38 to play in the half. A conventional three-point play by redshirt-sophomore Lorenzo Jenkins put the Rams up two. The Buffs tied it on a pair of Tyler Bey free throws, but junior guard Prentiss Nixon canned a deep triple with just a few ticks on the clock to put the Rams up 38-35 at the intermission, a lead they would never relinquish.
For the game, Colorado State shot 40.7 percent (22-of-54) from the floor, including 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from the three-point line. Colorado was 39.3 percent (24-of-61) on field goal attempts and just 32.0 percent (8-of-25) on threes. One difference was the charity stripe, as the Rams were 21-of-29 (72.4 percent), with the Buffs going to the line just 13 times, hitting seven (53.8 percent).
The Rams were led by Nixon and redshirt-junior J.D. Paige with 16 points each, with Nixon hitting four threes and Paige going 5-of-5 at the free throw line. Senior Che Bob chipped in 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks, while junior Deion James added eight points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals. Redshirt-sophomore Nico Carvacho also had eight points, nine rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots. The Buffs had two players in double figures, as McKinley Wright had a game-high 19 points and Dominque Collier tallied 10.