Colorado State (3-0) kept the good times rolling on the road Tuesday night. After starting the season with a pair of home victories, the Rams followed it up by taking down Northern Colorado 83-64 for their first win away from home this season.
Led by the trio of Isaiah Stevens, Joel Scott and Nique Clifford, CSU comfortably controlled the matchup for the majority of the night and never had to worry too much about falling to their in-state rivals for the second season in a row.
UNC did jump out to an initial 7-2 lead, however, by halftime the home squad trailed the visiting Rams by 13. And by the second half, CSU’s lead grew to as large as 21.
To the credit of the feisty Big Sky squad, the Bears refused to go down without a fight and did scap back within 13 points with a little under 6 minutes left. Just like they did for the first 35 minutes, though, the Rams locked in down the stretch and ultimately pulled away for a big win away from Moby Arena.
Leading the Green & Gold in scoring, Stevens finished with 24 points on 53 percent shooting from the floor (8-of-15).
The fifth-year point guard was lethal from deep and knocked down four of the five attempts he took from beyond the arc. He also pitched in four rebounds and a team-high four assists in 34 minutes of action.
Just as he was in the first two games, Joel Scott was stellar in this one. The former Division II star scored 20 points to extend his streak of double-digit performances to 50 straight games. He added in six rebounds, three assists and two blocks for good measure.
Finally, not to be outdone, Clifford posted the first double-double of his CSU career. The Colorado transfer had 11 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in what was a really solid effort for the new starter.
As far as the key stats go, CSU finished +9 in defensive rebounds and +6 overall.
The Rams shot 38 percent from 3-point range as a team, which was significantly better than the Bears (26 percent).
And although it ended up being close in the paint, CSU held a slim advantage there too (+2).
Ultimately this game could have been an even bigger blowout had CSU knocked down a few more open shots in the first half. There were also a couple of small stagnant stretches in the second half where the Rams turned the ball over.
But considering this was the first road game of the year, and that it was against a team that always aims to play spoilers for the Rams, this was a pretty solid performance for the Green & Gold.
It’s been great to see CSU taking advantage of these early non-conference matchups. So long as the Rams take care of business on Friday against UMKC, Niko Medved’s group will be looking really good going into the MTE in Kansas City next week.