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Colorado State secured an important home victory over Boise State on Tuesday night.
The 75-62 win over the Broncos extends CSU’s winning streak to three games. It also keeps the Rams in the hunt in a competitive conference that is completely wide open with a little over a month to go.
Here’s everything you need to know.
Against one of the best defensive teams in the Mountain West, the Rams put together an impressive offensive performance that was highlighted by eight different players scoring multiple field goals.
The 3-point shooting was not a strength for either side in this one, as neither team was able to shoot even 30 percent from beyond the arc. The Rams finished 27 percent from deep themselves and hit just one three in the second half (4-of-15). What they did do a great job of, though, was getting quality 2-point looks throughout the night.
CSU shot 70 percent from inside the arc and scored 40 points in the paint. That combined with going 17-of-19 at the free throw line made it really hard for Boise State to make any type of dent in CSU’s lead.
On a night where the Rams were looking to build off of their impressive two-game showing last week, CSU really came out and played great team basketball. They worked the ball inside-out and consistently passed up good looks for great ones. And to the credit of everyone on the roster, all nine guys contributed in one way or another.
The Rams had 22 assists on 27 made field goals in the win. Half of those came from Isaiah Stevens, who recorded his fifth double-double of the season (16 points, 11 assists).
Stevens was especially impressive in the second half, when he either scored or assisted on 11 of CSU’s 15 field goals. When the lights were brightest, Stevens really stepped up and delivered his team to victory. It was a fitting moment after he struggled in the loss in Boise earlier this winter.
“I felt like we gave up a lot of possessions at their place, just with the turnovers, especially on my part,” Stevens said postgame.
“I think I had like six or seven of them, which is kind of uncharacteristic, but it happens. So we just wanted to make sure that we took care of the ball and had a lot of possessions end in shots. Because when we shoot them, we like our chances of them going in.”
Along with Stevens, Joel Scott had another solid outing with 13 points, six rebounds and a couple of assists. Both he and Patrick Cartier finished with double-digit figures despite dealing with foul trouble.
While the starters were really solid, perhaps the most encouraging aspect of the win was the way the bench played. CSU got 23 points out of the rotation and some of the biggest hustle plays defensively were made by those guys, too. Not everything they do shows up in the box score but the impact of tying an opponent up or diving for a loose ball should never be understated.
“I thought our bench was really good tonight,” Niko Medved said postgame. “I thought everyone came in and was really productive, and just brought something to the table. It was a really good performance by the Rams.”
Coming off of the collapse in Wyoming, it would have been easy for this group to fall apart in a league that allows no time for wallowing in self pity. Losing the way CSU did is not ordinary and it legitimately could have been a moment that derailed the entire season. I cannot emphasize enough how impressive the resolve of this group has been.
In its last three wins, CSU has led for 112 minutes and 46 seconds of a possible 120 minutes. During that stretch the Rams have trailed for a total of 2 minutes and 12 seconds and the most they have gone down by is 2 points.
I’m not saying that the Rams are never going to struggle or have some tough moments along the way. But after everything this team has already experienced, it really feels like this is a battle-tested group that is capable of just about anything.
With Utah State falling to Nevada tonight, the league is wide open going into the final stretch. Buckle up, Ram Nation. Things are about to get intense.