Seven-Footers Lead CSU Past Tigers

Colorado State handed Auburn its first basketball setback of the young season as a trio of freshmen led the Tigers.

Fort Collins, Colo.--Colorado State held off a late Auburn rally to take a 77-67 basketball victory at Moby Arena on Monday night.

The Rams improved to 5-0 while the Tigers fell to 2-1.

The Tigers cut a 12-point deficit to 68-65 with 2:35 to play on a three-point basket by freshman point guard Quantez Robertson. However, the Tigers were only able to score two more points as the Rams held on for the victory.

Freshman forward Josh Dollard led the Tigers with 18 points while Robertson added 13 and another freshman, Korvotney Barber, added 10 points for the Tigers.

Seven-footer Jason Smith led the Rams with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He made 6-13 field goals and 9-11 free throws. Another seven-footer, Stuart Creason, added 18 points for the Rams before fouling out in a reserve role.

Coach Jeff Lebo's Tigers led early, but couldn't extend their lead to more than three points. The Rams took the lead on a free throw with 14:36 left in the half at 14-13 and built the margin to 22-17 at the 9:51 mark on a three-pointer by Michael Morris.

The Tigers pulled even at the 3:51 mark at 29-29 on a basket by Robertson and trailed by two points at the break, 38-36. At intermission, the Tigers were 0-8 on three-pointers and 8-14 at the foul line.

Senior Ronny LeMelle scored six points and added five rebounds for the Tigers.

The Tigers tied the game to start the second half on a basket by Ronny LeMelle, but quickly dropped behind by six points.

The lead hit double figures at the 14:28 mark on a basket by Creason to put the Rams up 52-42. A Creason free throw with 12:18 to play increased the lead to 56-44.

Auburn's first three-pointer of the game at the 11:16 mark by Robertson cut the lead back to single figures at 58-51.

The Rams stretched the lead back to 10, but AU cut it to six on a goal tending call of a shot by Joey Cameron, who who cut the gap to 66-60 with 4:20 to play.

The Tigers had a chance to win the game until the final minute when reserve point guard Michael Woodard missed a shot with the Tigers down 75-67.

Auburn was outshot from the field, but kept the game close by getting 20 more field goal attempts. CSU hit 50 percent of its 50 shots. Auburn hit 26-70 from the field for 37.1 percent.

Both teams struggled on treys. Auburn was 3-14 and CSU was 3-12.

At the foul line, Auburn made 12-19 tries while the home team got 42 foul shots, but could make just 24.

Auburn Coach Jeff Lebo

"When you put a team on the line 42 times, there is a good chance you are going to get beat," said Jeff Lebo, who noted that CSU's size was a major problem for his Tigers.

However, AU did manage to hold its own on the boards. The home team held a narrow 44-43 edge.

The Tigers will return to action with a Thursday night home game vs. McNeese State. Colorado State will play at home on Saturday vs. IUPUI.

With a crowd of 4,377 watching the action, the Rams committed 20 turnovers that lead to 28 Auburn points. AU's 19 turnovers led to just 16 CSU points.

Josh Dollard takes a shot vs. the Rams on Monday night at Moby Arena.

Dollard was 6-16 from the field and added five rebounds for the Tigers, who were led on the boards with eight from Barber. He was 5-8 on field goals.

Daniel Hayes added eight points and five rebounds for the Tigers.

Robertson was 3-8 from the field and hit both of his three-point shots and was 5-5 at the foul line. He added three assists and one steal and had just one turnover.

Guard Frank Tolbert turned the ball over six times in 20 minutes for the Tigers.

The home team got 13 rebounds from 6-4 senior guard Michael Morris, the son of former Auburn star Chris Morris. He scored six points in 36 minutes. His brother, Sean Morris, scored seven points and added three assists for the Rams.

"Micheal Morris played a terrific basketball game in many, many ways," said CSU coach Dale Layer. "He calmed us down, and made some post feeds.

He played 36 minutes and contributed three assists, two steals and two blocked shots with just one turnover.

Sean Morris, a 5-10 sophomore guard, played 22 minutes and added three assists, two steals with one turnover.

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