Described post-game by Head Coach Niko Medved as “far from a work of art.”, the Colorado State Men’s Basketball squad somehow found a way to overcome continuing turnover issues and the loss of leader Isaiah Stevens to fouls to record an important road victory in front of 1807 fans.
Stevens had fouled out with nearly 4 minutes remaining and the Rams holding on to a tenuous 63-62 lead. He had been held in check by the home team, recording a season low 6 points and 2 assists along with 5 turnovers. But his ability to close out games would not be present during the stretch drive.
Not to worry as the Rams displayed “a next man up” mentality as described by junior veteran Kendle Moore. Backup guard PJ Byrd came off the bench in place of Stevens and “PJ did what he had to do” to help the Rams get over the top.
The Rams trailed 38-32 at the half and had trailed by as many as 9 in the second half before they established that tenuous 1-point lead to begin that final stretch.
First it was David Roddy scoring in the paint. Then it was Adam Thistlewood burying a three-ball off a feed from Roddy. And finally, it was Moore.
The Cowboys’ freshman sensation Marcus Williams had tied the game at 72 with an improbable 3-pointer from very deep with only 11 ticks on the clock.
The Rams were prepared for those final seconds after taking a timeout with 25 seconds remaining. They went through all the scenarios including a tie game. They knew they wouldn’t take a timeout, that Moore would push the ball up the court at full speed and get to the rim as fast as he could.
And that he did as he squeezed his way past a pair of Wyoming defenders, cradling the ball before completing a difficult finish at the rim.
And when a Wyoming three-ball fell dangerously close from the back of the iron at the buzzer, the Rams had scored their victory.
”We found a way to win and we’re not going to give it back” said Medved.
Sophomore guard John Tonje came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. Roddy would finish with 15 along with 8 rebounds. The Moore and Moors (freshman big James) tandem would deliver 11 and 10 respectively. The Pokes’ freshman guard tandem of Williams and Xavier DuSell would tie for game high honors with 17 each.
Not the year.
The number of people in attendance.
For the first time, Wyoming was allowed to have fans attend a Mountain West Conference game and it just happened to be against their bitter rivals.
It made for a much better experience for all involved. Medved’s family was able to attend and congratulate him for the victory post-game.
And what The Coloradoan’s beat writer Kevin Lyle estimated as 200 Ram fans made the trek to the Pimple on the Prairie. They got their first look at this year’s squad and were rewarded with an exciting victory.