Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate CSU Rams Community!

Colorado State responds from tough blowout loss with a massive upset win over Utah State

Justin Michael Avatar
January 22, 2021

FORT COLLINS, CO. — Bounce back. 

Colorado State got punched in the mouth in the opening game against Utah State Tuesday night. The Aggies dominated the glass, scored in the paint at will, and genuinely just executed better on both ends of the floor. 

Following the disappointing loss head coach Niko Medved emphasized that the Aggies are absolutely a talented team and played like it in their blowout victory over the Green & Gold. The third-year Rams coach explained, though, it wasn’t a difference in talent that resulted in the final score being so lopsided. It was a difference in mentality. 

As Medved explained, CSU didn’t bring the type of intensity on defense that is necessary to top a dangerous group like the Aggies — especially on the road — and as a result, things quickly got out of control. The fact that the team consistently missed open jump shots didn’t help their cause either. 

On Thursday night the Rams played like a team that got the message from their coach, taking down the Aggies, 84-76, in Logan, UT. The effort on defense was significantly improved, the offense was efficient and meticulously approached, and unlike Tuesday’s debacle, CSU didn’t let Neemias Queta completely dominate them. He still made his presence felt. But as a whole the Rams were able to keep things much tighter on the glass and be much more competitive on the low block — something they couldn’t say the other night. 

“(Niko Medved) challenged all of us individually after that one and showed us what what we lacked on film,” David Roddy said postgame. “That wasn’t CSU basketball…I’m really proud of our guys for stepping up and playing with urgency.”

In addition to a better showing in the paint, one of the big keys for CSU on Thursday was the ability to draw Queta away from the hoop with plays designed to get the ball to James Moors and Dischon Thomas at the top of the key. On a couple of different occasions Moors was able to beat Queta on the drive, which already had the big man thinking. Then, Thomas was able to make the big man guess more with a really strong jump shooting performance from 3-point land as well. 

In fact, at one point “DT” made 11 consecutive points for CSU, including three-straight 3’s. When Queta proceeded to crash on him too aggressively, he slipped the ball to a cutting Kendle Moore, who was able to take advantage of an open lane with a wide-open layup. While the sequence was only one of many crucial moments from throughout the night, it completely changed the tone and ultimately set the Rams up to take a slim lead into halftime.

The impressive thing was Thomas wasn’t done yet. In the second half sophomore forward from Durham, N.C., attacked Queta multiple times and helped cause the 7-footer to pick up his third and fourth fouls of the contest with more than 10 minutes to play. He was also able to finish around the rim a few times to finish with a season-high 15 points and round out an extremely solid showing.

“I’m super proud of him and how he played,” Roddy said of Thomas. “That was huge for us coming off the bench.

While it was a memorable night from Thomas for sure, there were key moments from most of the regular rotation players on Thursday night.

Roddy struggled with foul trouble in what was an extremely tightly officiated matchup but still came up with a couple of huge hustle plays down the stretch to help keep possessions alive for CSU. The versatile big man from Minnesota finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in total.

Isaiah Stevens flirted with a triple-double as well. The 2019 Freshman of the Year had an off shooting night (3-of-11) and still managed to finish with 18 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Kendle Moore had 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting to boot.

Really, it was a strong team victory in every sense of the term, and a performance that just may end up being the difference between the Rams sneaking into the NCAA Tournament this spring. There’s still plenty of important basketball to be played, including the upcoming home series with Boise State. After already slaying a couple of Mountain West giants on the road, though, the Rams have a chance to really accomplish something special this season.

Next Up: Boise State (x2).


Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?