March 12, 2008
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Coming into the Mountain West Conference Tournaments this week, both the Colorado State men's and women's teams went 0-16 in the regular season.
On Tuesday night, the men's team sat in the stands and watch the women's team win their play-in game against UNLV. On Wednesday afternoon, the men seemingly were inspired and followed suit in their game against Wyoming to upset the Cowboys, 68-63.
Marcus Walker scored 22 points and Andre McFarland had 18 to lead the No. 9 Rams (7-24), who next play top-seeded BYU in the quarterfinal round Thursday afternoon.
"Andre started it off for us and we fed off the girls' game from yesterday," said first-year coach Colorado State coach Tim Miles, whose team stopped a 17-game losing streak. "It finally felt like we could win. Down the stretch, we made the plays and started believing we are going to do this."
Walker added five assists on 9-of-17 shooting from the field, while McFarland was 4-of-6 from 3-point range.
Brandon Ewing led No. 8 Wyoming (12-18) with 29 points, 19 in the first-half. Ewing from the free-throw line was 13-of-13.
But with the Cowboys trailing 64-63, Ewing went for a go-ahead layup with 32 seconds left in the game, but was stripped by Adam Nigon (10 points)."I just felt like I had to get back and make a play," Nigon said. "I saw (Ewing) breaking long and Andre was coming, and if he could get him to put a shot up, I could get in there and get my hand on it. And they didn't call anything on it. I swept it clean. It felt good."Nigon said he was inspired by the women's team as well.
"(The women's team) got the big win, and we thought it as our turn to do it," he said.
After two free-throws from Walker with 28 seconds left, Ewing missed a potential tying 3-pointer from the left arc with :17 left. Willis Gardner (eight points) later made two free throws to seal the win.Previously, Colorado State's last win came Dec. 29 against Western State at home.
But next up is the regular-season champions Cougars, who are ranked No. 24 nationally."We didn't have a bad game against them last time," Miles said of his team's 79-65 loss at home Feb. 13. "We went totally small in that game. I like the match-up better than some others."On Wednesday, Colorado State from the field was 24-of-51 (47 percent), while Wyoming was 20-of-56 (36 percent),Wyoming built its largest lead of the game 46-39 with 14:33 left. But the Rams went on a 17-4 run and had taken the lead for good at 51-50 with 9:10 left on a Nigon layup.
"We had a team letdown," Ewing said. "We can't do that now in March. We stop guarding and making shots. The last five minutes kind of hurt us."
As for Wyoming, first-year coach Heath Schroyer, he led his team to a 5-11 record in the conference during the regular season.
"We've come a long way," he said of the season. "We played pretty good at times. We're headed in the right direction. I've been through this before. We'll hopefully continue to add pieces to the puzzle."
After the Cowboys jumped to a 6-0 lead to start, there were seven lead changes as Wyoming led for the majority of the half, including 36-31 at halftime.
In the first half, Ewing was 5-of-8 shooting from the field, and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. In the half, the Cowboys were 10-of-11 from the free-throw line and finished 18-of-20 for 90 percent.