The Colorado State men’s basketball team moved to 3-1 in conference play and 11-6 overall with a nearly 30-point beatdown of Air Force, defeating the Falcons 85-58 Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
The victory over the Falcons was No. 500 of head coach Larry Eustachy’s illustrious career, the 9th straight victory over the service academy since Eustachy took over as head coach in 2012 and the 11th straight victory over the in-state rival.
“It felt good because of everything that has been going on,” Emmanuel Omogbo said following the victory. “It feels really good for him to get his 500th win and we did it as a team. We came in and got the job done.”
After defeating San Jose State on the road Wednesday night with an impressive performance from the starters, the Rams carried that same “team-first” mindset into their matchup with Air Force and for a second consecutive game, four Rams finished the day with double-digit scoring totals.
No scorer finished the day with more than Gian Clavell, who finished with 28 points, seven rebounds and three assists while going 5-of-10 from beyond the arc. Following the win, Clavell pointed to tempo and “playing together” as the reasons why the Rams’ offense has started to click.
Along with a dominant offensive game, the Ram defense did an excellent job at defending the Falcons and limiting their scoring opportunities. Without starting forward Hayden Graham, who missed the game due to illness, the Falcons struggled to get anything going offensively. Graham is second on the team in scoring (11.2 points per-game) and first in rebounding (5.1). His presence was certainly missed in the post, as the Rams dominated the Falcons down low, out-rebounding them 31-29 and outscoring them in second chance points 13-6.
A large reason the Rams saw so much success down low was another dominant performance from Omogbo, who once again finished the day with a double-double (14 points and 10 rebounds).
Following the victory Omogbo was awarded the game ball from his head coach for both his performance today and the growth and leadership the young man has shown since tragically losing family members last year in a fire.
“It means a lot to me,” Omogbo said. “He (Larry Eustachy) has been like a second dad for me. A lot of people have been there for me, but he and his wife have been there for me the whole time.”
Clavell also spoke highly of his coach.
“I just love his toughness,” Clavell said. “His competitiveness, the way he coaches, the way he teaches, everything about him I like. The way he gets on you when you’re missing shots. He motivates you, instead of bringing you down.”
The Rams will look to get Eustachy a 501st career victory when they host New Mexico next Saturday (Jan. 14).
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.