DENVER — Champions. 

The Colorado State men’s basketball team (6-0) shocked the country on Monday evening, erasing a massive deficit in the second half to overcome Northeastern in the Paradise Jam Championship Game (71-61).

CSU trailed by 16 at halftime (36-20) and by as much as 20 in the second half. The Rams managed to outscore the Paws 51-25 over the final 20 minutes of play though — at one point dominating NEU with a 42-10 run over about 13 minutes of time. 

After going for 30 against Bradley and then dropping 36 points on Creighton, David Roddy continued his dominant run with 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the win. The big man didn’t make a killing from deep like he did on Sunday, he did however take over the game with 19 second-half points.

Roddy was able to do whatever he wanted in the paint, either securing a layup or dork, or drawing a foul and converting at the free throw line (6-of-7). Unsurprisingly the junior guard/forward was named the MVP of the event with a per game average of 33 points and six rebounds over CSU’s three wins. 

Along with Roddy, Isaiah Stevens was CSU’s second leading scorer. The trustworthy point guard had 13 points, eight assists and three rebounds in another quality start. Stevens only made four of 12 field goal attempts but much like Roddy he had some extremely timely buckets down the stretch. His roles as a facilitator as well as a defender were extremely crucial to CSU’s success. 

Outside of the starters the bench was able to contribute with 19 points for the Green & Gold. As it has against opposing teams all season, CSU’s depth really wore down NEU in this one. It was the disparity in depth that likely made the biggest difference in the outcome. Each team played three games in four days but NEU didn’t get a single point out of its reserve players. Winning the bench scoring margin by 19 is significant any night, 19-0 is glaring though. 

While the majority of the scoring came from Roddy, Stevens and the rotation, everyone on the floor deserves praise for the stout defensive effort in the second half. CSU smothered NEU during the comeback run by frequently pressing the Paws all the way up the court and really forcing them to make good decisions with the basketball. Eventually the Rams’ relentlessness just took the life out of their opponents. It was truly an impressive showing of effort, resiliency and execution. 

The Rams were tested in all three of their tournament wins and no matter what the opposition threw CSU’s way, Niko Medved’s squad was always able to counter. It’s early in the season and there’s still much more that CSU hopes to accomplish before it’s all said and done. The upcoming game against Northern Colorado will be a challenge in itself. Any time you can win a trophy is significant though. 

It’s clear that this team is special. Enjoy this one. 

Justin Michael
Author

Justin has been covering Colorado State athletics since 2015 & has been featured in multiple national outlets. Along with keeping up with the Mountain West, Justin loves the local teams and has been going to Broncos games since he was six years old. Follow Justin on Twitter - @JustinTMichael

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