FORT COLLINS, Colo. Keyed by a second half comeback, Colorado State defeated Sam Houston State, 71-65 in Moby Arena Dec. 8. With the win, the Rams improved to 5-5 on the season, while the Bearkats dropped to 3-7.
CSU trailed by as many as 11 points in the game and for a majority of the second half, as the Rams tried to claw back. CSU's defense was the theme of the second stanza, with each team opening on just 1-of-7 shooting. Sam Houston State built a seven-point lead with 13:27 remaining, but it was the Rams who attacked back, taking a 55-54 lead behind redshirt-senior guard J.D. Paige's contested layup with 6:24 left to play, a key part of a 12-2 run that pushed the lead to 60-54 with 3:33 remaining. Though it got down to a one-possession game on three occasions in the closing minutes, Colorado State wouldn't look back, taking advantage of 12-of-14 made free throws in the final minutes to seal the victory.
Redshirt-junior Nico Carvacho matched each of the Bearkats' first six points in a closely-contested first half of play. Following redshirt-junior Lorenzo Jenkins' four-point play to put CSU up 12-6, Sam Houston State would go onto a 10-0 run over the next 3:04 to take a 16-12. The Bearkats, behind a big 12-2 run would build their largest lead of the afternoon at 33-22 advantage with 5:38 remaining in the first half. CSU closed out the half strong, going a 11-3 run, capped off by freshman Kendle Moore taking the steal coast-to-coast, to enter the break down, 36-33.
Colorado State finished the game shooting 42.3 percent (22-of-52) from the field but just 23.8 percent (5-of-21) from beyond the three-point line. The Rams' stellar defensive play held the Bearkats to just 36.4 percent (24-of-66) from the field and 37.0 percent (10-of-27) from deep. CSU won the battle of the boards, outrebounding Sam Houston State, 42-34, converting that to an 11-4 advantage on second-chance points.
Led by Paige's 23, the Rams had three players score in double figures on the contest. Carvacho was dominant in the paint en route to 20 points and 19 rebounds, each season highs. Redshirt-junior Anthony Masinton-Bonner added another 10 points, while Moore totaled eight points and three steals. Chad Bowie led Sam Houston State in scoring with 14.
The Rams will continue a three-game homestand on Sun., Dec. 16, hosting South Dakota at 2 p.m.