Men's Hoop Team Loses Tourney Title, 72-69

Hilo, Hawaii/Nov. 25, 2001 (CSU-SID) - <BR>Brian Green was named the most valuable player and Andy Birley joined him on the all-tournament team Sunday night following the championship game of the Big Island Invitational hosted by the University of Hawaii-Hilo. The Rams (4-1) dropped the title game to Weber State 72-69.

Greene, a six-foot, nine-inch junior from Horizon High School in Thornton, scored a career-high 16 points in the championship, while Birley set a new career scoring high for the second night in a row when he scored 18 points. A night earlier in the Rams' 61-59 semifinal win over the University of Hawaii, the junior from Battle Ground, Wash., had scored 16 points.

Against Weber State, CSU used a 13-2 run in the first half to lead by as many as eight, and settled for a five-point, 33-28 intermission lead. The game was tight throughout, and Weber State tied the score at 60 with three minutes to play, then took their first lead since the opening minutes of the game some 30 seconds later.

Freshman forward Matt Williams of Colorado State took things into his own hands, scoring the Rams' next five points including a three-point play for a 65-63 lead with 3:30 to play.

After WSU tied the score at 65 with three minutes to play, neither team scored again until Chris Woods hit a basket with 28 seconds to play, handing the Wildcats a 67-65 lead. Jermaine Boyette pushed the lead to four, 69-65 on a pair of free throws, before Birley hit one of two free throws to cut the gap to 69-66.

Boyette made another free throw, then Birley's three-pointer with two seconds left cut the lead to a single point, 70-69. Stevie Morrison hit two free throws, and Greene's desperation shot at the buzzer to tie the game bounced off the rim.

The Rams boarded a plane immediately following the game for the lengthy trip home, with plans to arrive in Fort Collins at midday Monday. Coach Dale Layer's team then turns around Wednesday, departing for games at Gardner-Webb in Boiling Springs, N.C. Thursday, and two nights later in Columbia, S.C., against the University of South Carolina. The team's next home game is Dec. 5, when the Rams play host to Colorado in Moby Arena at 7 p.m.

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