FORT COLLINS | Colorado State needed a win against San Jose State Wednesday night to stay within a game of Mountain West leader Nevada. And with so much unpredictability within the conference, where any team can win on any given night, wins aren't easy to come by.
CSU entered their game against the Spartans as 7.5-point favorites, as SJSU sat at 9-9 overall and 2-5 in Mountain West play. While upsets have been commonplace in conference play this winter, the Rams took care of business Wednesday night, earning an 81-72 win over San Jose State.
CSU used double-doubles from senior stars Gian Clavell and Emmanuel Omogbo to coast to the victory over SJSU. With the win, CSU remains on pace with the top conference contenders.
Omogbo was well on his way to a 20-point, 20-rebound performance, having collected 12 points and 8 rebounds in the game's opening 17 minutes. A sluggish second half, however, resulted in the power forward fouling out before he could get anywhere close to that mark. The athletic big man, who is the only player in the Mountain West averaging at least 10 points and 10 rebounds per game, finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Where Omogbo cooled off, Clavell heated up. The creative guard scored 17 second-half points and finished with 24 for the game to ignite the Rams offensively. Clavell was a catalyst on both ends of the floor, creating plays for his teammates on the offensive end, while grabbing 12 rebounds on the defensive end.
"We are playing well with each other and I am glad we are staying consistent," Clavell said after the game.
Omogbo even told Clavell to take over the game when he wasn't making shots to start the second half. Clavell took charge, not only in scoring, but getting his teammates involved.
"I am here to do whatever I have to do and Gian led us to a big win tonight," Omogbo said. "We have to move on to the next game after enjoying it for a little bit and get another win at San Diego State."
CSU, though, was never really threatened by the Spartans. The Rams trailed at the 4:13 mark of the first half, but following a Clavell field goal, CSU never trailed the rest of the game. SJSU got to within six points of the Rams under a minute to go when CSU couldn't put the game quite out of reach. Late free throws iced the win for the Rams.
Prentiss Nixon played the third amigo to a 'T', going off for 17 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Starting forward Nico Carvacho also appeared more confident, finishing the game with 10 points and 8 rebounds.
Omogbo said the Rams are a different team when Carvacho plays with confidence.
"With Nico, it has to do with his confidence and just working on his game all the time," Omogbo said. "There are going to be mistakes because he is a redshirt freshman. But we can live with him getting a lot of offensive rebounds for us and giving us extra shots."
Highlighting the win was another Larry Eustachy milestone. It was his 100th win as CSU's head coach, a mark he said was important, yet one he didn't care to gloss over too much.
With the win, CSU improved to 13-8 overall, 5-3 in Mountain West play. Next up, the Rams travel to San Diego to take on the Aztecs on Saturday.