Gear up for gameday: CSU
LARAMIE -- "We could beat that team."
You might have that kind of confidence too if you played basketball like Marcus Williams does.
The true freshman tied a team-high with 17 points Thursday night and hit a deep triple with 12 seconds remaining on the clock to tie the game at 72-72. Unfortunately for the home team, Colorado State had an answer. That came in the form of a Kendle Moore layup just six seconds later.
Wyoming couldn't respond, falling to its most hated rival, 74-72.
The Border War lived up to its name.
"We had a lot of growth. I mean, the effort was there in the first half. The discipline was there too and it showed," Williams said. "We just have to do that the whole 40 minutes. As you saw in the second half, we kind of let up. You've got to to fight through the whole game."
Yes, you've heard the 40-minute excuse before. You're likely to hear it again with nine potential contests left in the regular season and at least one guaranteed (is anything really guaranteed these days?) game in the Mountain West Tournament.
Wyoming's true freshmen left their mark on Thursday night's outing.
Williams wasn't just impressive at putting the ball through the hoop, he was the team's dual-threat quarterback, completing passes that would make Patrick Mahomes blush. He dished out a team-best six assists. They were the pretty kind, too.
The guy on the receiving end of those last two highlights was Xavier DuSell. He also netted 17. Fifteen courtesy of the three. The Arizona product has connected on 13 of those over the past four games. He also played lockdown defense, holding CSU's Isaiah Stevens to a season-low six points.
Big man Graham Ike is starting to find his footing, too. He scored eight off the bench and also went to battle with David Roddy throughout the final 20 minutes. That was Ike's fifth collegiate game. He is shooting 56.3 percent from the field. He has power and touch.
If you are the betting type, you might want to throw a few shekels on the Pokes Saturday afternoon.
I would bet on Drake Jeffries having himself a bounce-back game against the Rams. This is purely speculation, of course, but my money is always on the guy who cares enough to spend an hour-plus postgame taking shots from beyond the arc all by his lonesome.
That's exactly what he did.
Jeffries, one of the top three-point shooters in the nation last season in junior college, chucked up an air ball on an in-bounds play late in regulation. He was in disbelief. He shook his head all the way back to the Cowboys' bench.
That guy gets it.
Will Wyoming be able to hold Stevens down again? Not likely. How about Roddy? He will likely get his, too. The Cowboys will have to control the Adam Thistlewoods of the world. He hit a huge three with under a minute to go, silencing a crowd of 1,800 inside the Arena-Auditorium.
They might want to shift some focus to John Tonje as well. He scored a team-high 16 for the Rams and hit a pair of triples.
CSU shot 61 percent from the field in the second half.
The four games prior, here is what Wyoming's opponents did in that all-important department:
Guess which games they lost?
That will be one of the main keys to splitting this series.
Mountain West standings:
Utah State (14-5, 11-2)
Boise State (14-3, 10-2)
Colorado State (13-4, 10-3)
San Diego State (13-4, 7-3)
Nevada (13-7, 8-5)
Fresno State (7-7, 5-7)
UNLV (6-9, 3-5)
Wyoming (10-8, 4-7)
San Jose State (5-11, 3-9)
Air Force (4-12, 2-10)
New Mexico (5-11, 1-11)
Here's all you need to know about today's Border War tilt in Laramie:
Who: Colorado State (13-4, 10-3) at Wyoming (10-8, 4-7)
When: Saturday, Feb. 6 at 4 p.m. MST
Where: Arena-Auditorium, Laramie, Wyo.
Radio: Cowboy Sports Network
Television: CBS Sports Network (Channel 221 on DirecTV, 158 on Dish, 94 on Verizon Fios, 734 on Xfinity)
Streaming: CBS Sports Network
Tickets: UW ticket office
Road conditions: WYDOT
Vegas odds: CSU -7.5, O/U 153
Rosters: CSU/ Wyoming
History: This is the 235th meeting in the series. UW leads 136-99
Last meeting: Wyoming fell to the Rams 74-72 Thursday night in Laramie
Coaches: Niko Medved/ Jeff Linder