DENVER | The "Duel in Denver" was supposed to be a marquee matchup for an 8-2 Colorado State team to flex its muscles at the Pepsi Center. Unfortunately for the Rams, they ran up against the hot-shooting Kansas State Wildcats.
K-State (10-1) shot 49.2 percent from the field and used 21 points off 14 CSU turnovers to defeat Colorado State in Denver, 89-70.
Kansas State easily pulled away from CSU in the second half, using a 45-31 second half scoring advantage to blow out the Rams. CSU got off to a quality start, leading the Wildcats 29-21 at the 7:29 mark in the first half. To that point, things were clicking offensively for the Rams, as jumpers from Prentiss Nixon and two three-pointers from Gian Clavell boosted CSU offensively.
But Clavell earned two fouls and had to sit the final nine minutes of the first half. That proved to be the difference-maker in the game, as CSU came to a screeching halt offensively and the Wildcats went on a scorching 23-5 run to end the half.
A 7-point halftime lead for KSU quickly turned into an 11-point lead under two minutes into the second half before the wheels began to fall off for the Rams. K-State hovered around a 20-point lead for the remaining ten minutes of the game, ending a once promising beginning for the Rams.
Nixon led the Rams with a career-high 30 points points, while Clavell chipped in 16 points. Emmanuel Omogbo had an up and down game, ending with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of turnovers.
Starting point guard JD Paige had one of his tougher games as a Ram, finishing with 0 points on 0-for-6 shooting and 5 turnovers. It was a disappointing day for the Denver-area native who starred at Rangeview as a prep.
Kansas State's DJ Johnson, a big power forward, led the Wildcats with 19 points and 10 rebounds. The big man also earned "oohs" and "ahhs" from the crowd with a draw-dropping one-handing put back dunk.
The Rams (8-3) next take on Loyola Marymount Monday night at Moby Arena. Tipoff is set for 7pm MST.