FORT COLLINS - It wasn't how this season was supposed to end.
A hot shooting CSU-Bakersfield team came into a loud late night Moby Arena crowd and torched the Rams 81-63.
It was a team that had a .338 average from behind the arc all season and shot 11-of-19 tonight.
After the game CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said there may have only been 25 teams in the country that could have beaten the Roadrunners tonight. The Rams were not one.
After falling just short of winning not only the Mountain West regular season title, but the conference tournament as well, CSU was snubbed from the NCAA Tournament and looked destined to make a run in the National Invitation Tournament.
For a team that had everything stacked up against them this season, it looked as if they were finally going to catch a break. CSU won the first game they hosted as a No. 4 seed and No. 8 CSU-Bakersfield upset the top seeded University of California, giving the Rams another home game. If they would've won tonight, the Rams would've hosted once again in a quarterfinal game against UT-Arlington for a trip to New York in the semifinals.
That's not how it played out.
Instead, the Rams shot 34.5% from the field, well below their season average of .427. Emmanuel Omogbo struggled to get going, tallying just three points, his lowest of the season since Dec. 10 against the Northern Colorado.
The All-Mountain West Player of the Year, Gian Clavell, added 21 points and eight rebounds with the help of Prentiss Nixon's 15 points, but it wasn't enough to even keep CSU within reach.
In the final minutes, the two CSU seniors, Clavell and Omogbo, were pulled from the game as the crowd rose to their feet giving them a well deserved standing ovation.
Clavell pointed out after the game that when he first got here there were only 1,000 fans in the stands and tonight with a 9 p.m. game, Moby was packed.
The two helped transform the Colorado State men's basketball program and this team never gave up.
"I will always remember this team as one of the most special teams I have ever had," Eustachy said. "You have seen some teams in those circumstances quit, and that is the last thing we were about, quitting."
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