An efficient night of shooting helped lift Colorado State to an 81-72 victory over San Jose State while giving head coach Larry Eustachy his 100th career victory at CSU.
The Rams converted 28-of-57 (49.1 percent) shot attempts, good for their second best mark from the field this season against Mountain West opponents. Previous occasions in which CSU (13-8, 5-3 Mountain West) sniffed 50 percent from the floor were in victories against UNLV (48.5 percent) and Air Force (50 percent).
“We played with each other pretty good and I’m glad we stayed consistent,” senior guard Gian Clavell said after the game.
Clavell led the Rams to their fifth Mountain West victory by contributing 24 points and earning his third double-double of the year with 12 rebounds. The 6-foot-4 guard went 10-19 from the floor and scored 17 in the second half.
While Clavell carried the Rams in the second half, Emmanuel Omogbo did so in the first half. Omogbo scored 12 points and collected 8 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. Despite fouling out with 3:56 left in the game, the senior finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds for a third consecutive double-double and his 11th of the season.
“It’s not a big thing, fouling out, because I know they are going to finish out the game strong,” Omogbo said.
The scoring duo of Omogbo and Clavell took turns shouldering the load for CSU.
“In the first half I was on and led the team,” Omogbo said. “In the second half he (Clavell) was on and I told him don’t even give me the ball anymore, just keep shooting.”
In addition to the big nights from Omogbo and Clavell, the Rams had three other scorers who shot at least 50 percent from the floor.
Sophomore Prentiss Nixon went 5-10 from the floor and scored 17 points. J.D. Paige also made the most of limited shot attempts, scoring 10 and converting two of his four shots. Nico Carvacho got in a groove as well, scoring 10 points and making each of his four field goal attempts.
“With Nico it just has to do with his confidence and working on his game all the time,” Omogbo said. “There are going to be some mistakes because he’s a redshirt freshman, but we can live with that. We can definitely live with him getting a lot of offensive rebounds for us and getting us extra shots.”
CSU trailed the Spartans 27-24 with 4:28 remaining in the first half after a jumper by Jaycee Hillsman. However, CSU answered with a crucial 9-0 run to build a six-point lead.
The Rams led San Jose State 33-29 at the break and opened the second half on a 7-0 run. The 16-2 run by the Rams over a 6:17 span was key in the victory.
“I thought we grew a lot over a 40 minute period,” head coach Larry Eustachy said. “We were very concerned with this game because with San Diego State coming you could look ahead. I thought our team did a good job of not and understanding who they were playing.”
The win marks Larry Eustachy’s 100th victory with Colorado State, something he does not think about.
“It really doesn’t carry that much significance to me,” Eustachy said. “I had a lot more fulfillment watching this team fend off San Jose State late and play some great portions of the game and watch guys mature right in front of me.”
The Rams continue their conference slate on Saturday Jan. 28 in San Diego against San Diego State at 4 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz