RAMS GET MARQUEE WIN

This is a game we'll always remember – we beat Michigan"

It's rare to play a non-conference game in mid-February, but it rarer still when you get to host a perennial national power. The CSU Rams got to do both, taking a break from Mountain West Conference play to host the Michigan Wolverines. In front of more than 4,000 screaming home fans, CSU fought back, and finally beat Tommy Amaker's Wolverines, 70-66 in overtime. It was the second straight OT game at Moby Arena for CSU (they lost 72-69 to Wyoming on Saturday) the first time that's happened in school history. CSU improved to 10-13 on the season.

Despite the fact that Michigan came in with a losing (10-11) record, having won only once away from home all season, the win was a marquee one for the struggling Rams, who had lost four in a row coming in.

"I'm just so proud of this group," said Layer, who put his team through a rare pre-game practice an hour before the game. "They've been working hard – they have a great work ethic and haven't been rewarded much this year. They finally got rewarded for all the hard work overcoming adversity."

Michigan led 29-25 at halftime, but the Rams tightened the screws after the break.

"Our defensive effort in the second half was the difference in this game," Layer said on his radio post-game show. "This win will definitely help us mentally for the second half (of the MWC season.)" Michigan attempted 30 three-pointer (making 11) on the night, but in the second half and overtime, only converted five-of-17 treys. The Rams, being outrebounded by one at the half, won the final battle on the boards, outrebounding their Big 10 opponents 40-34.

Brian Greene and Matt Nelson led the Rams with 16 points apiece.

Things looked bleak in the second half for CSU before an 11-2 run pulled them even at 47-47 with just over five minutes to play. After that, it was see-saw, the Wolverines taking a four-point lead, the Rams coming back to tie it before Andy Birley's three-pointer gave CSU a 56-54 lead with 2:21 to play. CSU led 59-56 after Matt Nelson's tip in with :54 to play.

But Michigan pulled even again at 59-59 when Bernard Robinson nailed a three-pointer following an offensive rebound with :27 left. Following a Rams miss, Michigan worked for a final shot, but couldn't get one off before the buzzer, and the game went into an extra stanza.

In overtime, Greene – playing with four fouls much of the second half - started things with a three-point play off an offensive rebound and a 15-footer jumper to make it 64-59. A three-pointer drew the visitors back to within two at 64-62 with just over a minute left. But point guard Joe Macklin snuck inside and tipped in a miss by Birley to make it 66-62, and after the Rams got the ball back on a Wolverine turnover, Greene hit one of two free throws to make it 67-62.

A three by Michigan's Lovell Blanchard with :21 to play pulled Michigan to within 67-65, but Macklin was fouled on the inbounds pass, and he hit the second of two free throws to make it 68-65. Nelson got the offensive rebound, and he was fouled with :15. He hit both free throws to ice the win.

"We knew we should have won the overtime game (against Wyoming) on Saturday, and we just kept playing hard," said Macklin. "This was great for us, great for CSU, and great for the conference. This is a game we'll always remember – we beat Michigan."


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