LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -- A career game. A flurry of fouls, including
four technicals. A late-game run. A game-saving block.
The Border War lived up to its billing.
Michael Harrison scored a career-high 28 points and Corey Lewis
blocked a 3-point try with 2 seconds left as Colorado State (15-12,
4-10 Mountain West Conference) overcame foul trouble to beat
Wyoming 80-78 in the 203rd meeting between the schools.
"What an unbelievable game," Rams coach Dale Layer said.
Unbelievable because of Harrison. Going head-to-head against
Justin Williams, the nation's second-leading shot blocker, Harrison
was virtually unstoppable, hitting 6-of-7 from the field in the
first half, then scoring 10 straight CSU points during a 3-minute
stretch in the second.
"Mike's been playing like that for a while now," Layer said.
"Earlier in the year he was a little inconsistent, but he's been
extremely consistent for about a month now."
Harrison did a little bit of everything -- he hit 8-of-10 free
throws and had two blocks. He wasn't afraid to post up Williams,
who averages 5.3 blocks per game.
But more often than not, Harrison isolated Williams and took him
one-on-one, driving and spinning to the basket.
"I knew I had a speed advantage -- Justin is a really great shot
blocker -- so I just tried to use my speed to face up and hit the
glass," Harrison said.
"Harrison's been aggressive, and gets more aggressive all the
time," Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "He did a good job for
Unbelievable, too, for the emotion.
"It's an emotional game. It's billed to be emotional, the fans
are emotional, the media kind of hype it," Layer said. "For the
most part, everyone kept their senses about them."
For the most part -- but not entirely.
Wyoming coach Steve McClain, whose job may be on the line after
what's shaping up to be his third losing season in the last four,
was given a technical foul early in the second half after loudly
protesting a no-call. An instant later -- the Rams hadn't even had
time to pick a player to shoot the technical free throws --
Wyoming's Brandon Ewing and CSU's Andrew Patterson were called for
a double-technical for an exchange of words at half court.
Wyoming's Brad Jones was called for a technical in the first half.
In all, the two teams combined for 28 second-half fouls, with
Jason Smith, who came in as CSU's leading scorer at 17 points per
game, fouling out with just nine points. Freddy Robinson, Sean
Morris and Stuart Creason each had four fouls for CSU, and Ewing
and Derek Wabbington each had four for Wyoming.
But the Cowboys (12-15, 5-9) couldn't capitalize at the free
throw line, hitting just 7-of-16 in the second half.
"If you look at our stats and you look at how our team's been
playing, it's going to be turnovers and free throws, and you know
that's something we've really got to look at and concentrate on
come our last two games and the conference tournament," Williams
Colorado State pulled away early in the first half on the
strength of Harrison's inside game. The game was tied 10-10 when
the Rams went on a 15-4 run -- including seven points from Harrison
-- to take a 25-14 lead.
Wyoming cut the lead 35-29 on Kevin Lewis's pull-up jumper. But
a 3-pointer from Robinson and free throw from Smith put the Rams up
Steve Leven's running jumper with 2 seconds left brought the
Cowboys back within 41-35 at halftime.
CSU pulled away again in the second half, going up 73-60 on a
3-pointer from Corey Lewis with 3:29 left.
But Wyoming closed the game on an 18-7 run. Ewing was fouled on
a made 3-pointer with 8.1 seconds remaining, pulling the Cowboys
within two. He missed the free throw, but Robinson missed two free
throws at the other end, giving Wyoming one last chance.
Ewing got off a final 3-pointer from the corner with 2 seconds
left, but Corey Lewis blocked it to seal the win.
Wyoming leads the series 124-79, including a 72-67 win earlier
this year in Fort Collins, Colo.
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.
DeSean Murray, who averaged 20.2 points as a sophomore at Presbyterian, will transfer to Auburn to play for coach Bruce Pearl.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.