In the second game of a three-game home-stand at Moby Arena, Colorado State (7-2) defeated DII opponent Arkansas-Fort Smith in convincing fashion. The 24-point 93-69 win was the largest margin of victory for the Rams so far this season. CSU’s 93 points also eclipsed their previous season-high of 84.
“We worked on our offense a lot the last couple of days and I thought it showed up,” head coach Larry Eustachy said.
The story of the game for CSU was different guys stepping up to score points and lead CSU to a win.
Che Bob earned his first career start and made the most of it, converting 8-9 field goals and scoring a career-high 21 points. The South Plains transfer added five rebounds as well.
“I felt good,” Bob said. “My game comes off of missed shots and attacking the glass. When I’m doing that, it’s hard to stop.”
Bob was one of a handful of Rams to have a career game against Fort Smith. Redshirt freshman guard Anthony Bonner proved he can be an asset off of the bench. Similar to Bob, the rim was wide for Bonner, as he made three of his four three-point attempts, going 4-of-5 from the floor overall. Bonner finished the night with a career high 17 points.
“It’s a good feeling but all credit to my teammates for just finding me in rhythm,” Bonner said. “Yesterday in practice we worked a lot on moving for each other, looking for each other, getting double-ball reversals. I think our team chemistry played a big part in it. I’m just trying to fit in wherever I can and help anyway I can.”
Devocio Butler also matched a career high in points, scoring 13 off the bench. He has reached double-figures in five of CSU’s last six games, including three straight.
The Rams had five scorers in double digits against the Lions, the most they’ve had through nine games this season. Omogbo added 11 and had seven rebounds. Prentiss Nixon also had 10 points fresh off a 20-point outing against Wichita State on Saturday.
“With this team we always have someone who can step up,” Bonner said. “Like coach says, being a team together you don’t really need that go to guy. Someone’s going to step up no matter what. “We have a very diverse team, everyone can score, everyone can defend, rebound. Not knowing who is going to be the leading scorer, who is going to have the hot hand, makes us much harder to guard and play against.”
The Rams shot 62.7 percent in the game and went 5-14 from three-point range. However, despite their dominant offensive effort, the Rams didn’t pull away until the second half.
Bob extended the Rams lead to 13 with 5:31 left in the opening half. This would be CSU’s largest lead of the half, as a late rally by the Lions put them within six at the break, 40-34.
“We came out kind of slow in that first half, clearly, only up six,” Bonner said. “Coach put it on us to come together, talk to each other in the huddle, bring the energy in the second half.”
An early 9-0 run in the second half to give the Rams a 52-37 lead with 14:25 remaining in the contest put the game out of reach. CSU’s largest lead in the game was 27. With the victory, the Rams move to 7-2 on the season.
Up next Colorado State will be looking for revenge against the University of Northern Colorado on Saturday Dec. 10 in Fort Collins. UNC upset the Rams last season 73-64.
Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz