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Colorado State earns first top 10 win 39 years with 69-48 beatdown of No. 8 Creighton

Justin Michael Avatar
November 23, 2023

Colorado State men’s basketball hoped to make a strong impression at the Hall of Fame Classic out in Kansas City. The Rams did that and then some. 

After cruising comfortably to a 12-point win over previously-undefeated Boston College, CSU came out and made a statement with a 69-48 win over No. 8 Creighton on Thursday afternoon. 

The ranked win is CSU’s highest since beating No. 5 UTEP in Fort Collins in 1984 (63-51).

It’s CSU’s first ranked win overall since the Rams went into Viejas Arena and beat the No. 23 Aztecs 70-67.

And after starting the season by taking care of business against inferior opponents, the Rams showed the country on Thanksgiving that this is a team to be taken seriously in a deep Mountain West Conference.

Nov 23, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Creighton Bluejays guard Trey Alexander (23) tries to drive to the basket during the first half Colorado State Rams at T-Mobile Center. Photo: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

Leading the Rams in scoring, Isaiah Stevens scored 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting. He also pulled down six rebounds and dished out seven assists while only recording one turnover in 32 minutes of action.

In a breakout performance, freshman forward Rahsaan Mbemba had 13 points on a day he shot 75 percent from the floor (6-of-8). And with Patrick Cartier leaving the game early with back pain, the Rams needed every one of those points, especially with Joel Scott’s double-digit scoring streak coming to an end after 52 games (6 points).

As a team the Rams shot 48 percent from the floor, despite only shooting 26 percent from deep (5-of-19). What CSU lacked in production from beyond the arc, though, they made up for with a 34-20 advantage in the paint.

While we can focus on the scoring, the truth is that this game was won with defense. We expected an offensive shootout between two of the top scoring teams in the nation. What we got instead was a hard-fought battle and a really strong defensive effort from two highly experienced groups. 

The Rams held the Blue Jays to just 28 percent shooting in the game (17-of-61). And at one point, Creighton was held scoreless for over 7 straight minutes of game time between the two halves. It was truly a stellar defensive showing for the Green & Gold against a team that typically averages over 90 points per game.

The pace did pick back up in the second half, as both teams started to knock down more shots with consistency. But any time that the Blue Jays showed any life whatsoever, Niko Medved’s team immediately responded with a soul-crushing run of their own.

The resilience and maturity of this group has been quite impressive in the opening month of the season. To pull off this type of win on National TV was truly something else though.

We’ll see if this special moment in school history is enough to propel the Rams into the top 25 prior to next week’s showdown with Colorado.

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