Rams Men's Team Picks Up Seventh Win

CSU-SID - Colorado State University's banged-up men's basketball team gave itself an early holiday gift Thursday night in the form of six-foot, five-inch swingman Ronnie Clark.

Clark, a sophomore transfer from Florida Southern, made his first appearance in a Rams' uniform a memorable one, scoring 25 points and leading Colorado State to a 92-71 win over visiting Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne Thursday night in Moby Arena.

"Ronnie Clark was so excited to play. I knew he would bring passion and energy to our team," said Rams' coach Dale Layer. "I don't know that he can get 25 points every night out, but he gave us a real lift."

Colorado State has battled injuries and illness as of late. Matt Brown, a starting forward the first nine games, missed two recent victories at the University of Denver and against Southern Illinois with a flu virus before returning to action Thursday night. To make matters worse, starting center Matt Nelson, who scored a career-best 32 points at DU and had started the first 10 games of the season, is out at least four weeks after dislocating his right big toe two nights ago in the 80-62 win over SIU in Moby Arena.

"It seems like we've had a new team with a new rotation every night for the past three weeks," said Layer of the team's injury woes.

Clark led five Rams scoring in double figures - the most in a game this season - including 16 in the first half. He came off the bench with 14:55 in the first half with the Rams trailing, 11-8. He promptly made two free throws and keyed a 10-0 run by scoring seven of the team's next 10 points.

Colorado State widened the lead to as much as 23 in the game, before settling for the final 21-point margin in scoring the most points by a Layer-coached team since a 101-58 win over Southern Oregon in the opening game a season ago.

F Quantone Smith (16), F Matt Williams (12) and F Darian Burke (12) all had season scoring highs in tonight's game, and G Jon Rakiecki had a season-best seven assists.

Layer's squad will practice Friday and and Saturday before taking a four-day holiday break. The Rams return to workouts Dec. 26 in preparation for the team's next outing, Jan. 2 at Baylor University

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