Durham, N.C. - Junior forward Greg Smith came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points, but a 17 point halftime deficit was too much to overcome for CSU Wednesday night, as Duke won 87-64.
Colorado State was vastly undersized in the post, as big men Trevor Williams and Will Bell got into early foul trouble. Mason and Miles Plumlee each had 14 points for the Blue Devils, and Mason was a rebound away from securing a double-double.
Rams' leading rebounder Pierce Hornung was forced to sit out the contest due to post-concussion symptoms. The six-foot-five junior forward hasn't played since sustaining the concussion against Stanford on November 15.
While the Rams knew coming in that they would have problems rebounding the basketball, the perimeter depth of Duke also proved to be overwhelming for CSU. Freshman sensation Austin Rivers led Duke with 17 points, and did a nice job of getting his teammates involved when his shots weren't falling.
Andre Dawkins proved his worth behind the arc as well, shooting 60 percent, while finishing with 15 points of his own.
CSU hung around early in the game, but 11 first half turnovers and a 10-0 run by Duke to end the half kept the Blue Devils out of reach.
Dorian Green scored 14 points for Colorado State, finishing perfect from the free throw line (5-5). Surprisingly, Green led the Rams in rebounding with ten boards.
Green and Dwight Smith were often forced to guard Ryan Kelly and Miles Plumlee, respectively. Both Blue Devils' forwards are 6-foot-11, while Green is just 6-foot-2 and Smith stands at 6-foot-4.
Wes Eikmeier, who leads the team in scoring this season, started the game hot by scoring CSU's first six points, but never could maintain his groove. The junior guard finished 4-13 from the field with 10 points.
The game gave Colorado State national exposure against the winningest coach in NCAA history in Mike Krzyzewski. The game was televised on ESPN2, and allowed CSU an opportunity to showcase its worth to a national cable audience.
With the loss, the Rams have now dropped two straight and sit at 5-4 overall. CSU returns home to Moby Arena against Texas Southern on December 19. Tip-off is slated for 7pm MST.