Cory Lewis' layup late in the second half put Colorado State up 69-54 and sent many of the 4,309 fans to the turnstiles thinking the game was over. But a handful of CSU turnovers, missed Ram foul shots and Colorado offensive conversions later, and the Buffs were right back in the game. When Richard Roby grabbed Tim Denson's missed free thrown, drove the lane and put the ball off the glass for the score with 22.2 seconds remaining, the Buffs had pulled to within two, 71-69.
Denson hit one more foul shot for the Rams, and Roby's trey attempt on the next CU possession was partially blocked. Patton protested heavily when the rebound appeared to be knocked out of bounds by a CSU player but was given to the Rams. But it was too late. CSU inbounded the ball and escaped with the win.
The loss dropped Colorado to 3-6, while the Rams improved to 6-2. It was the first Colorado State Rams win in Boulder since 1957.
In a game where most of CU's freshmen played like freshmen, Patton chose to be positive after the game rather than publicly pour salt on his players' wounds.
"If we build on the defensive intensity we had the last few minutes of the second half, there's a lot of good basketball ahead for this team," he said.
Indeed, the Buffs forced 24 CSU turnovers Saturday night. The problem was, Colorado gave up 24 themselves.
CSU also found holes in the Colorado defense much of the night, shooting 48 percent from the field. Guard Stephen Gilling hurt the Buffs from beyond the arc, hitting 4-of-5 3-pointers.
The Rams' 7-foot forward Jason Smith had 15 points and 16 rebounds, but also eight turnovers.
Patton rewarded sophomore walk-on point guard Chase Perkowski's work in practice recently by inserting him into the starting lineup. He played nine minutes and was credited with two turnovers, no assists, points or rebounds.
The game featured runs by both teams in both halves. Colorado stormed back from a 7-point deficit in the first half with Roby hit nine-straight points and Dominique Coleman capped that effort with five more. But CSU had a strong run to close out the half, and led 43-34 at the break.
Roby led all scorers with 20 points.
The Buffs do not play again until they host UC-Davis on Dec. 23.
Points: Richard Roby 20
Rebounds: Jeremy Williams 8
Assists: Roby 4
Turnovers: Six with 3
Blocks: Roby 3
Steals: Coleman 5
Points: Jason Smith 15
Rebounds: Smith 16
Assists: Cory Lewis 7
Turnovers: Smith 8
Blocks: Stuart Creason 2
Steals: Tim Denson 3