FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP)Shane Gatling scored a season-high 20 points and Tyler Bey had a big block down the stretch to help No. 24 Colorado hold off Colorado State 56-48 on Friday night after squandering a 16-point lead.
Leading 33-17 with 16:41 remaining, the Buffaloes (8-2) couldn’t close out a cold-shooting Rams team that suddenly found their touch. Colorado State tied the game at 39 with 7:18 left.
Moments later, Gatling had a bucket to put the Buffaloes ahead for good. Gatling was originally credited with a block shot on Nico Carvacho down the stretch but it was changed to Bey. Gatling did seal the win with two late free throws.
The Rams (7-6) rebounded from a sluggish start in which they shot 17.9% during the first half and scored just 12 points.
Gatling appeared to hit a big shot when he banked in a 3-pointer just as the shot clock expired with 7:30 remaining. It put the Buffaloes up 42-37. But the officials went to the monitor and ruled Gatling didn’t get the shot off in time, keeping it a one-score game. Colorado State tied it up on the next possession.
The Rams were 2 of 22 from 3-point range in a contest in which they never led.
”There’s some eye-popping numbers that come off the (stat sheet) that say we probably didn’t deserve to win that,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. ”The reality is we did because we defended at a very, very high level.”
McKinley Wright IV added eight rebounds and three assists for the Buffaloes, who will more than likely fall out of the rankings after a loss to Northern Iowa earlier in the week.
Carvacho finished with nine points and 10 rebounds for the Rams.
”We were there at the end,” Rams coach Niko Medved said. ”We couldn’t get over the hump.”
Colorado State held Wright and Bey to a combined 11 points and below their season averages. But it wasn’t enough.
The opening half was anything but pretty for Colorado State, which missed all 10 attempts from 3-point land. Although the Buffaloes led 27-12 at the break, it could’ve been more if not for their 12 turnovers.
The 12 points were the fewest allowed in the first half by Colorado since holding Utah to 11 on Dec 31, 2011. That was the Buffaloes’ first game in the Pac-12 and they won 73-33.
Colorado: A win’s a win, right? No style points, correct? The Buffaloes weren’t at their offensive best, but the defense picked up the slack. Colorado leads the all-time series 91-38.
Colorado State: Looked like it might be a blowout. The Rams regained their composure.
Colorado State’s Kendle Moore and Dischon Thomas certainly stood out on the court with their bright orange sneakers.
New Colorado State football coach Steve Addazio took the court before the game.
”Just wanted to say hello and say how excited I am to be at Fort Collins and CSU,” Addazio told the fans.
Fired from Boston College on Dec. 1, Addazio signed a five-year deal with the Rams earlier this week. His first game will be at home against Colorado.
Colorado: Host Prairie View A&M on Thursday.
Colorado State: Travel to Tulsa on Dec. 21.
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