FORT COLLINS, Col. (ABC4 Sports) – The Colorado State athletic department apologized Saturday after a group of students at a men’s basketball game chanted “Russia” at Ukrainian Utah State player, Max Shulga.

Shulga was born in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv and has spoken about his concerns for his homeland in the past. The Colorado State students were taunting Shulga about the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has killed thousands of Ukrainian civilians and even more soldiers.

The Rams insisted it was only a “small” contingent of its student section that did the chant, it said such behavior was unacceptable.

Utah State guard Steven Ashworth called the taunts, “absolutely classless.”

Shulga responded to the apology in a statement giving his gratitude for the quick response from Colorado State and expressing his feelings on the situation.

“As for the chants last night, while extremely upsetting in the moment, I also know how emotions can run high during competition and people can do and say things they do not really mean. Colorado State and its fans have apologized and I accept and appreciate the apology.”

As for the game, Ashworth poured in 26 points, while Taylor Funk added 21, as Utah State beat the Rams, 88-79.

Ashworth was 9 of 19 shooting (8 for 17 from distance) for the Aggies (19-5, 8-3 Mountain West Conference). Funk made 8-of-13 shots, including 5 for 9 from beyond the arc. Daniel Akin recorded 11 points fore the Aggies.

Sean Bairstow added 11 points and nine assists, while Shulga had nine points and six assists.

Utah State shot 50.9% from the floor, making 18-of-39 three-point attempts. This was Utah State’s third time this season making 18 or more 3-pointers, tying the Aggies for the most such games among all Division-I teams. The mark of 18 triples also ranks fourth all-time in school history for a single contest.

The Aggies moved into a tie for second place in the Mountain West Conference with Boise State and Nevada, one game behind San Diego State.

The Rams (10-14, 2-9) were led by Isaiah Stevens with 25 points and eight assists. John Tonje added 20 points and four assists. James Moors pitched in with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Utah State used a 7-0 run in the second half to build a 12-point lead at 62-50 with 9:47 left in the half before finishing off the win.

The Rams briefly cut the lead to six points in the final minute before USU iced the victory via three free throws from Shulga and a dunk from Akin.

Utah State next plays Wednesday against San Diego State at home.