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Colorado State outmuscles Fresno State in blowout win

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Updated 10 months ago on
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FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State Rams fancy themselves as some of the nation’ s most rugged rebounders. On Saturday, they showed it.

Behind a balanced attack and dominance in the paint, Colorado State pounded Fresno State 80-57 before 7,043 at Moby Arena. The Rams pushed the visitors around under the glass all afternoon, outrebounding Fresno State 49-29 to turn this date between two teams tied near the top of the Mountain West Conference standings into a glaring and brutal mismatch.

“I’ m kind of surprised by the score,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. “Fresno State is well coached and talented. But there were points tonight were we played some of our best defensive basketball, and for long periods of time.”

Senior forward J.J. Avila led a balanced attack with 17 points and Colorado State never trailed. Senior forward Stanton Kidd had 13 points while sophomore guard John Gillon added 12 and junior guard Gian Clavell had 11.

The Rams (19-3, 6-3 MWC) opened the second half with an 8-2 run, opening a 19-point lead with 16:10 remaining in the half. That lead eventually increased to 30 with 6:54 left.

Colorado State recorded 21 assists on their 31 field goals as Fresno State (10-12, 5-4) defenders were a step slow defending the Rams’ back cuts. Colorado State had 38 points in the paint and shot 48.4 percent from the field, while Fresno State frequently settled for long jumpers. Junior guards Marvelle Harris and Cezar Guerrero led Fresno State with 16 points each. The Bulldogs finished at 32.7 percent from the field.

“You can’t give them second-chance opportunities and tonight we gave them way too many second-chance opportunities,” Fresno State coach Rodney Terry said. “That was the difference in the game.”

“I don’t know if it was the right mindset. That’s something we have to continue to embrace in terms of physicality. Age has nothing to do with it. Size has nothing to do with it. It’s mindset. You have to go out and compete and embrace being physical and tonight they were more physical than we were.”

Eustachy said his program emphasizes rebounding “more than anybody else in the country.” He said no team lifts weights harder than his players. Colorado State entered Saturday with a plus 6.1 rebounding margin, the Mountain West’s highest. Fresno States minus-2.1 mark is ninth in the 11-team league.

“We have some very mature guys in that locker room,” Eustachy said. “They’re very high character.”

His players said they returned to work following Tuesday’s frustrating loss at Boise State with some tough practices. The results were obvious.

“We worked on effort plays,” Avila said. “We were tough out there.”

Said Colorado State’s Tiel Daniels. “That is what we pride ourselves on. Any time you beat up on a team like that, it’s always good for us.”

Daniels led Colorado State with 10 rebounds. Avila grabbed nine.

“It’s all want to,” Guerrero said. “You have to want to get rebounds and loose balls. It was an area that we had some difficulty.”

Behind 11 points from Avila, Colorado State opened a 35-22 lead over Fresno State at halftime.

The Rams opened the game with a 9-2 run and closed the first half with a 13-5 stretch to take control.

Bejarano and Stanton Kidd scored seven points apiece for Colorado State, which outrebounded Fresno State 29-17 in the first half. The Rams also shot 12 free throws to the Bulldogs’ four.

Harris, the Mountain West Conference’s second-leading scorer at 17.7 points per game, led Fresno State with eight points before the break. Fresno State shot 27.6 percent from the field in the first half.

Both teams entered Saturday tied with Boise State, New Mexico and Utah State in second place one game behind Wyoming and San Diego State in the league standings. Colorado State visits Fresno State on Feb. 18.

“It’s going to be a different story there,” Eustachy said. “I’ m sure (Terry) thinks they can play better.”

NOTES: Colorado State G Daniel Bejanaro left the game in

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