#2 Rams Hold on in Showdown versus #8 Buffs

DENVER, Colo. No. 2 Colorado State raced out to an 8-3 halftime lead against No. 8 Colorado in the 8th Annual Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Showdown before watching their bitter rivals reel off five straight goals to tie the contest. But sophomore Alex Devlin got himself open on the right wing with six minutes remaining and blasted home what would be the game winner as the Rams held on to defeat the Buffs 9-8 at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.

Colorado State's offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first half, seemingly scoring at will against Colorado's defense. CSU's Cooper Kehoe was having his way, getting all of his game-high five points before the game was even halfway over. Meanwhile, the defense was doing its part, holding CU's potent offensive attack to just three goals in the first half.

Colorado came out firing in the third quarter and controlled the ball for much of the period. Even though CSU's defense did its job, only allowing one goal, the Rams could not sustain any offensive pressure and the momentum was clearly turning in Colorado's favor. The Buffs scored four goals in 7:20 of the fourth quarter to tie the game before Devlin's heroics saved the day for CSU.

"We were so good on both sides of the ball in the first half," said CSU head coach Alex Smith. "We knew they had a run in them, but I don't think we wanted to give them that kind of momentum. I don't know if we just fell asleep at halftime or if they turned it up, but nothing seemed to be going our way in the second."

The Buffaloes got a great game from midfielder Jack Cranston, who scored four goals for the black and gold. Kehoe led the Rams with five points while Devlin was second on the team with three. CU's man-up unit was effective, scoring twice in four attempts, while CSU was anemic, going 0/6, including failing on a two-man advantage.

"Our man-up has been a question mark all year," said Smith. "We were lucky that it didn't come back to bite us today, but it's something we're really going to have to figure out before the playoff season. We went from more than 40% last year to about 25% so far this year and there really is no excuse for it. Had we put a couple home on EMO, we might have had the breathing room we needed in this game a little earlier."

The goaltenders didn't exactly light up the stats sheet, but both made timely saves for their teams. CSU's Andy Flax saved eight shots while Bradley Macnee made seven saves for the Buffaloes. The Buffs outshot CSU 35-27 and scooped up 24 groundballs to CSU's 22. CU also won the face-off battle, taking 11/20 draws on the evening.

Colorado State runs its record to 13-1 overall and 1-0 in RMLC play. They will travel to Utah next weekend for two important league contests against No. 12 Utah on Friday night and No. 4 Brigham Young on Saturday. The games will conclude CSU's regular season and will determine the team's seeding for the upcoming RMLC playoffs in three weeks.


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