Men's basketball recap: Rams pull away late from Roadrunners

Dec. 19, 2012

Final Stats

By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State Rams (8-2) extended its home winning streak to 19 games, defeating the CSU Bakersfield Roadrunners, 78-58, on Wednesday night.

The 19 game home win streak for Colorado State ranks as the fourth longest active home win streak in the nation, trailing only South Dakota State, Kansas and Syracuse.

“This is a tough matchup for a lot of people,” Head Coach Larry Eustachy said. “This was not a 20 point game. This was more like a six, seven or eight point game. I like that we’re getting a lot more physical. We’re going to get a lot tougher; we’re going to get tougher mentally and physically.”

The Rams showcased a balanced offensive attack with all five starters scoring in double figures. Senior guard Wes Eikmeier led the way for CSU, tying a season-high effort with 17 points and a season-best five assists.

“I think that our whole team is just starting to gel together,” Eikmeier said. “I think Greg’s (Smith) last four or five games have been the best he has ever played.”

Senior forward Greg Smith finished second on the team with 14 points and five rebounds while fellow senior forward Pierce Hornung finished with 10 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Daniel Bejarano paced the team with a career-high nine rebounds.

Colorado State found its offensive rhythm once again, shooting at least 50 percent from the field for the second consecutive game, but weren’t able to pull away from the Roadrunners until late in the second half.

Just as it has been a common theme for this year’s Rams, CSU got off to another slow start. Trailing 5-2 in the first minutes of the game, Eustachy took a timeout to address his team’s energy and defensive efforts.

“We put more thought into our defense,” Hornung said. “We played hard while thinking about what we were doing”

Colorado State regrouped, taking its first lead with 14:21 left in the first half. The Rams led by as many as five points in the first half, but couldn’t chain together enough baskets to pull away from CSU Bakersfield. The Roadrunners finished the first half on a strong note and led the Rams, 35-34, heading into the intermission.

Senior center Colton Iverson opened up the second half with four consecutive points to give Colorado State the lead once and for all. A Wes Eikmeier three pointer gave the Rams a six point lead at 51-45, but CSU Bakersfield made sure not to let the lead get any further than that.

Senior guard Stephon Taylor scored the next seven points for the Roadrunners to keep CSU within striking distance, but with 5:54 left in the game, the Rams made their move and began to pull away.

“As a team we made a little run there,” Hornung said. “A bunch of guys made plays, Wes (Eikmeier) hit some big shots down the stretch. It was a team effort there at the end.”

The Rams finished the game on a 19-6 run, to put the game out of reach from the Roadrunners.

Colorado State will travel to Las Vegas next to take on the Portland Pilots on Saturday, as the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic continues. Tipoff is at 8:30 p.m. MT.