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Rams share the glory in a dominant Senior Day victory over Air Force

Justin Michael Avatar
March 1, 2020

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado State men’s basketball was locked into the sixth seed regardless of Saturday’s outcome against Air Force. Even if the rivalry game technically had no impact on the final standings, though, the Rams went into this game with the mindset that playing their best basketball would be paramount.

After coming out of the gate slow in each of the last three contests, Niko Medved emphasized earlier this week that playing well on their home floor was very important to him.

Sophomore forward Adam Thistlewood matched those sentiments, explaining that the Rams were not going to have any issues getting up for the Falcons game — even if CSU didn’t have a chance to improve its postseason position.

On Saturday, it was immediately clear that the guys in green and gold meant what they said about still valuing this matchup with the Falcons. After going down a couple of scores early, CSU responded with a 14-2 run, while simultaneously preventing the Falcons from making a field goal for 6 straight minutes of game time.

By halftime, the Rams were up 14 points and seemingly had taken the life out of their visiting road rivals. And this only carried over into the second half, where CSU was able to bury Air Force once and for all.

“Great win by our guys today,” Medved said postgame. “These things tend to be emotional sometimes and you never know how that emotion is going to effect you.”

Medved explained that he once they were able to put aside the emotion of the pregame ceremonies aside, he felt like his team did a nice job of looking to make plays and going hard on both ends.

He continued that the defense was not quite as strong in the second half but ultimately Medved was satisfied with what his squad was able to accomplish in the regular season finale.

With that, here are the takeaways from CSU’s 87-74 victory over the Falcons as well as everything else you may have missed on Saturday afternoon.

Quick Hitters

Kendle Moore paced the Rams with 21 points. The sophomore guard lit it up from 3-point range, sinking a career-high seven shots from deep in the home win. Afterwards, Nico Carvacho credited Moore for his shooting performance, telling the media that the Rams would not have won without it.

Even if it was Moore that stole the show, it really was a strong team showing against the Falcons. Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy finished with 14 points apiece. Stevens also led the Rams with seven assists, while Roddy added five himself.

Carvacho totaled 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting in what was a fitting way to end his historic career. And Adam Thistlewood got back on track as well with 11 points and a couple of made 3’s.

CSU finds its rhythm from deep

One of the things that killed the Rams in the loss to No. 5 San Diego State was CSU’s inability to knock down open jump shots down the stretch.

The Rams played phenomenal team defense and really did a nice job containing the frontrunner for the Mountain West Player of the Year, Malachi Flynn. Despite everything that CSU did well, though, going ice cold from the field over the closing minutes was  less than ideal — and as a result, instead of recording the greatest upset in the history of the program, CSU dropped a tight game to the best squad in the league.

Luckily for the Rams,  it was a completely different story against Air Force. CSU, wearing its green uniforms instead of the traditional home whites, came out red hot from the floor and really looked confident shooting the basketball from the perimeter.

In total, CSU finished 13-of-31 from beyond the arc in what was an efficient day from the floor.  Moore obviously shouldered a large portion of that production with a career-high seven made 3’s in the victory.

Sharing is caring

Throughout the season, the Rams have always looked the most dangerous when they’ve played with pace and focused on moving the basketball — this is exactly what they did against Air Force.

As a team, CSU finished with 25 assists, which was 10 more than the visiting Falcons totaled, and the most that the Rams have recorded in a single game since dishing out 22 in the win over UNLV on Feb. 1.

After the game, Medved pointed to the ball movement as one one of the biggest keys in the victory.

If CSU can shoot the ball in Las Vegas as well as they did on Saturday and continue to unselfishly value possessions by working the ball around the floor, the Rams have enough talent to make a run in the conference tournament — especially if they defend the way they did against SDSU and for most of the game against Air Force.

This team is good enough to win the whole damn thing. Time to see if they are hungry enough to get it done.

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