FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- Sean and Michael Morris made the
Rocky Mountain Rivalry a family affair.
Sean, a sophomore, scored a career-best 34 points and tied a
school record with nine 3-pointers, then watched his older brother,
Michael, a senior, sink two critical free throws with 10 seconds
left in Colorado State's 83-82 win over Colorado on Monday night.
"Michael's a clutch guy and I was not hesitant to put the ball
in Michael's hands. And certainly Sean was the difference in the
game," Rams coach Dale Layer said after beating the Buffs for the
first time in six tries. "And Sean's capable every night of that,
but who would have thought that he would have done that on this
kind of a stage?"
The Rams (2-0) almost ruined the brothers' big night by giving
the game away.
After the elder Morris' free throws made it 83-80, Chris
Copeland inexplicably dished it inside to Martane Freeman, whose
dunk made it 83-82.
"I can't explain," Copeland said. "Should have shot it."
On the frenetic final play, Rams forward Michael Harrison tipped
Marcus Hall's inbounds pass to Smith, who dribbled out the clock,
securing the Rams' 25th straight home opening victory and their
first win over the Buffs since 1999, setting off a wild celebration
at Moby Arena, where the students stormed the court.
"It was kind of crazy, all the energy and the excitement, we
turn the ball over and then get it back," Michael Morris said.
"It's just kind a sign we were meant to win this one. We worked
too hard for this."
Said Hall: "It was the last 10 seconds that lost the game."
Which led to a surreal scene with students streaming out of the
stands at Moby Arena.
"I don't know who they are but I'm sure glad they didn't go
home" for Thanksgiving week, Layer said. "If they want to come to
the house and eat, I'll be glad to feed them on Thursday if they're
Freeman's 17 points off the bench and Copeland's 16 points led
the Buffs (1-1), who saw a 74-66 lead with 7½ minutes vanish when
the Rams turned up their pressure defense.
Smith added 16 points for the Rams (2-0), who also got 10 points
each from Harrison and Lewis.
But the night clearly belonged to the Morris brothers.
"I loved it," Sean said of watching Michael go to the line
with the game on the line.
"I had faith that he was going to make that. He's got ice water
in his veins, he's a vet," Sean Morris said. "He's been here four
years. He's always calm. He never gets rattled."
Michael, who had five points and seven assists, said watching
his little brother go off on the Buffaloes was something special.
Sean Morris' previous career best was a 31-point performance
against UNLV last season.
"I knew he could do it because he did it last year in Vegas,
did it all through high school," Michael Morris said. "Any given
night, if he gets that hot, you're just going to have a tough night
Hall said Sean Morris "had an unbelievable game, don't see how
you can lose him after he made his first five 3s but we did."
"Sure, we broke down some," Buffs coach Ricardo Patton said.
"But there were also some times that we had hands in his face and
he hit some big shots. So, I think it's a combination of all that.
I don't think it was just us playing poorly. That's what players
do. They make plays, and tonight was his night."
And what little brother started, older brother finished.
"It feels great to get on the free throw line having a chance
to win, that's what everybody lives for," Michael Morris said.
After Freeman's dunk made it a one-point game and the Rams
turned the ball over, Smith went from possible goat to hero when
the ball ended up in his hands as the buzzer sounded.
"It was the best feeling in the world," Smith said.
And the Morris brothers embraced, savoring the most memorable
moment of their collegiate careers.