Can’t win them all. 

Colorado State (4-1) lost its first game of the year, falling 74-64 to the College of Charleston in the semifinal of the Charleston Classic. 

Here are the takeaways from Friday afternoon.

Rams show signs of fatigue with slow start

CSU did not look terrible in the first half. For the most part the ball movement was solid and the shot selection was fine. But after beating the breaks off of South Carolina on Thursday night, the Rams looked pretty sluggish early on against Charleston. 

A lot of the jump shots fell short of the hoop. And in general the Rams just didn’t look quite as locked in. They had more unforced errors than we’re used to seeing like missed passes or dribbling mistakes. Frankly they looked like an inexperienced squad experiencing this type of atmosphere for the first time.

While this game technically goes in the books as a neutral site matchup, considering the Rams traveled 1,769 miles and were facing the host school, it was essentially like playing in a true road game. And that’s after playing in a gym full of South Carolina supporters yesterday. 

CSU clearly has talent, you don’t beat an SEC team by 32 without it. That said, it really is not very surprising that this group did not come out with the same intensity that they did in the first game of the event. Hopefully this serves as a learning experience for this team come Mountain West Tournament time. 

Rivera continues to play well  

While it was a slow start for CSU as a whole, Isaiah Rivera was the exception. He scored 10 of the team’s 27 first-half points and did so efficiently by going 4-of-5 from the floor. 

In every game this season Rivera has displayed the ability to produce consistently for Niko Medved. Whether it’s been knocking down his jump shots or working his way down low, Rivera has become one of CSU’s go-to scorers this season. And without him, this game could have really gotten away from the Rams in the final 10 minutes of the first half. 

Rivera finished with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the game. He has now scored in double digits in all five games this fall. 

Too many second-chance points 

The biggest reason that Charleston was able to establish a 37-27 lead at the break, other than that they shot the 3-ball much better than CSU, was that they owned the offensive glass. 

They entered the game as a top-10 offensive rebounding team in the country and they added to those numbers in this one. Charleston had 18 second-chance points off of their 12 offensive boards in the game. 14 of those points came in the first 20 minutes though, so the Rams do deserve credit for adjusting down the stretch.

Not enough gas 

To CSU’s credit, they kept fighting and were able to cut the deficit to single digits a couple of different times in the second half. 

Unfortunately, after working COC’s lead down to two scores with just over a minute left, the Rams just didn’t have enough left in the tank to complete the comeback. And after taking a couple of counter punches from the visitors, the Cougars were able to hang on for the win in front of their fans.

Next up

After a much-needed off day, CSU will play Penn State on Sunday afternoon. We’ll see if the Rams can add another win over a major program to their resume.


Justin is a Colorado State alumnus and has covered the Rams for DNVR since 2019. Prior to coming to DNVR, Justin was the founder of and the Sports Director for the Rocky Mountain Collegian. From 2013-15 he was an intern for CSU Football.

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