FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State men's basketball team used a strong second-half effort, which included a balanced scoring attack led by a double-double performance from junior guard Daniel Bejarano, to pull away for a 99-70 victory over UCCS in the Rams' 2013-14 season and home opener Friday evening at Moby Arena.
"I thought we made progress from last week against Regis to this week against (UCCS)," said Rams' head coach Larry Eustachy of the Rams' improvement after narrowly escaping with a one-point win over the Rangers in exhibition action. "That (UCCS) is a good team that played Wyoming right down to the wire and actually out-rebounded Wyoming. We were only up plus-2 in the rebound column in the first half, and plus-15 in the second half. They took what we talked about (at halftime) and got in the game. I thought it was a tale of two halves; I thought we were much better in the second half."
In addition to his career-high scoring effort (17 points), Bejarano keyed the Rams' resurgence on the rebounds, notching a personal best with 16 boards, while tying a career-best mark with five assists in the contest.
As a team, the Rams posted their highest scoring total since a 106-80 victory, also against UCCS, on Dec. 28, 2005. It also marked the Rams' highest scoring output in a season- and home-opening game since CSU posted a 101-58 win over Southern Oregon to tip off the 2000-01 campaign.
Led by Bejarano's 17 points, six Rams scored in double figures, including freshman guard David Cohn who debuted with 15 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench for the Rams.
"I just look for open looks that the defense gives me," said Cohn who concluded a high-scoring prep career at York High School in suburban Chicago before signing with the Rams.
Cohn was quick to give credit to his teammates saying, "I have to give compliments back to DB (Daniel Bejarano) and JO (Jon Octeus). I wouldn't have the confidence without them. They're with me every step of the way and telling me to have confidence which is the No. 1 thing.
Octeus added 12 point and chipped in by tying a career-high mark with five assists, while junior forward J.J. Avila posted 15 points and four boards, while tying a career-high mark (set on three occasions as a freshman and sophomore at Navy) with six assists.
Also scoring in double figures for the Rams were front-court mates in junior Marcus Holt (14 points) and senior Gerson Santo (10 points). Holt also added five rebounds, including three offensive boards in the game.
The victory extended the Rams' win streak in season openers to six, and pushed the team's streak of consecutive wins in home openers to 33, dating back to the 1980-81 campaign.
The Rams now look to a nationally televised matchup at No. 15/14 Gonzaga set for Monday night as part of ESPN's 24-Hours of Hoops Marathon. Tipoff between the Rams and the Bulldogs is slated for 7 p.m. MT/6 p.m. PT tipoff on ESPNU.
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