Playing its third game in five days, Colorado State showed no signs of fatigue Sunday afternoon in an 80-58 blowout of visiting Alcorn State.
Sophomore guard Jeremiah Paige scored a career-high 23 points to go along with six assists, and senior forward Emmanuel Omogbo recorded his third straight double-double and fourth in six games with 15 points and 15 rebounds as the Rams moved to 5-1 with Wednesday’s road matchup with in-state rival Colorado looming.
Sunday also marked CSU’s best shooting game of the year, with the Rams shooting 28-for-50 (56 percent) for the game. On the other end, CSU held a Braves team that came into the game shooting 44 percent from the field to just 29 percent, including a 6-for-21 mark from behind the 3-point line.
Paige was CSU’s catalyst in the first half, scoring 19 points in 20 minutes of action while hitting 5 of 7 shots from the field and hitting all six of his free throw attempts. Coming into Sunday, Paige’s previous game-high was 15 points against South Carolina Upstate last season. He was also CSU’s fifth different leading scorer this season, joining Omogbo, Che Bob, Prentiss Nixon and Braden Koelliker.
“We just kept going to J.D.,” Omogbo said after the game. “He had a career night, why not go to him? He has the hot hand, and I’m not trying to shoot.”
The Rams jumped out to an early 10-2 lead Sunday, led by Paige’s eight points in the first 5 1/2 half minutes. Alcorn State did its best to keep the game competitive, closing the gap to two midway through the first half before an 8-0 CSU run stretch the margin back to double digits.
After closing the half with a pair of Nico Carvacho free throws to stretch the lead back to 11, 44-33, CSU steadily pulled away throughout the second frame, extending the lead to 65-45 on a free throw from Paige with 7:27 to play.
To go along with Paige’s continued emergence as a scorer, Omogbo has been a force on the glass early on this season, notching 15-plus rebounds three times in his past five games. As a junior last season, Omogbo averaged a team high eight rebounds per game, but is already averaging 12.3 per game this year.
As a team, CSU dominated the Braves on the glass, outrebounding ASU 47-25, with Omogbo and Kimani Jackson (8) leading the way.
“My approach is different,” Omogbo said of the uptick in his rebounding numbers. “Like I’ve said, this is kind of my ‘thank you’ season to everybody, and I want to go out there and give my all. I’m going to rebound for everybody.”