In a game that felt much like a prizefight, the Buffaloes of Boulder delivered the final blows allowing to leave Moby Gym with a famous victory over in-state rivals Colorado State.
The two teams probed and exchanged jabs early as neither team could do anything but score at the rim or the free throw line. After 12 minutes the score stood at 12-12.
And then the Buffs delivered the first big punch as they came out of a media timeout with a full court press that forced the Rams into a bad turnover resulting in a 3-ball, a hurried shot that the Buffs countered with a quick jumped and the Buffs had pushed into a quick 19-12 lead. CSU was on the deck but a quick timeout and a visit to their corner got them righted.
And the Rams responded with a series of jabs, hooks and crosses as they went on a sustained 22-11 run to close out the half with a 34-30 lead.
The game continued close for the entire second half as CSU forced their way inside and the Buffs countered with some easy hoops as the Rams left their guard down allowing easy transition baskets.
With just over 4 minutes remaining, the Buffs’ Spencer Dinwiddie took the game into his hands and delivered,the blows that were to win the close decision on points. Dinwiddie delivered 7 points on lay ups and free throws and a key assist on a three-ball in those final minutes.
Down 5 and seemingly knocked out, the Rams fought their way back and had a free throw to tie the game with 20 seconds to go. When it missed and the Buffs grabbed the rebound, Dinwiddie killed 10 seconds before making a pair of free throws. A last second three-ball by JJ. Avila fell woefully short and the Buffs left Moby wearing the title belt.
Spencer Dinwiddie was a man among boys. 28 points on 8-14 shooting most of which were layups that he made look easy. Along with 11-11 from the line. He wrapped up the CFRL Player of the Year Award, the first of many he will receive before he is drafted in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. He will be the 3rd Buff drafted in the first round in the past four years and he is easily the most complete of the three with a lot of game on both ends of the floor.
Colorado State committed a season high 18 turnovers. Many were forced by the Buffs as they collapsed heavily on JJ Avila when he penetrated. Several were careless. Bottom line is that CU scored 18 points off turnovers and countless other easy transition buckets off of CSU makes. CSU needed to put the Buffs continually into the halfcourt for 40 minutes and were not able to do that.
Colorado State won the battle on the glass over a CU team that was about +10 in Rebounding Margin and leading the nation in Defensive Rebounding % entering the game. CSU rebounded at a 38% on the offensive end! nearly double what CU had been giving up. JJ Avila led the Rams with 11 but Gerson Santo and Carlton Hurst were especially tough in traffic. At 6’3″ Hurst isn’t afraid to mix it up with the trees.
The Buffs have clinched the CFRL title with a 3-0 record and we’re barely into December. Congrats to Tad Boyle and crew for winning the crown. I expected them to be head and shoulders above the rest of the Front Range schools and they delivered. They will have bigger fish to fry as they look to be a certain NCAA Tourney participant.
For the Rams, it’s more hard work ahead after a disappointing loss to their bitter rivals. They are so much improved since the start of the season as they play more games together.
For Larry Eustachy, I think it’s OK to give your players permission to actually put the ball in the basket when they shoot. I know how important rebounding and defense are but seeing 13% on the scoreboard 2/3 of the way thru the first half is not good.
And along those lines, where was David Cohn in the second half? I know he struggles defensively sometimes but he was a spark in the first half when the team went on their 22-11 run. 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in about 12 minutes and you couldn’t find some minutes for him in the second half when Bejarano and Avila were gassed on their way to playing all 40?
“These games mean more, I think, emotionally to Colorado State and to Wyoming and to Air Force than they do to us,” Boyle said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t take them serious, because we do and they’re important games for us. But, those teams want to beat us and they want to beat us in the worst way.
“The fact that we’re playing them gives them that opportunity…
“Only a fool says it’s just another game…. “
It it so hard to acknowledge that CSU and CU have mirrored each other the past three seasons with each appearing in the NIT once and the NCAA twice?
Is it so a hard to acknowledge that CU’s home win over CSU last season was your team’s biggest OOC rpi boost? Maybe enough to raise your team one seed line in the bracket?
Is it so hard to acknowledge that over the previous two seasons that your Mighty Buffs have been 3-3 against Front Range schools while Colorado State has been 13-3 on their way to winning back-to back Crackers Front Range League titles?
Can your rhetoric be any more arrogant Tad?
Maybe the knowledge that a win at Moby on Tuesday night will wrap up Tad’s first ever CFRL title and earn him the coveted trophy has him feeling a little verklempt.
Game on baby!
Pick an adjective and it works to describe this one.
In easily the best game of this young season, the Rams scratched and clawed their way to victory over a very good New Mexico Aggie squad. The Aggies came into Moby at 7-1 and held a pair of wins over UTEP, a team that defeated CSU. The biggest front line In All of D-1 along with a talented trio of guards. It looked to be a matchup nightmare.
After 40 minutes, the Aggies had shot 52% from the field including 59% on 10-17 shooting from beyond the arc. For the game, the Rams shot 41% including a not so sparkling 29% from beyond the arc. Those are the numbers by which blowout are made.
Don’t tell that to Larry Eustachy’s squad, a collection of players who possess a marvelous spirit. They play the first possession like the last, full of energy and belief. They go after every loose ball like it’s their last. They fearlessly attack the rim, even against a 7’5″ center as wide as a mature oak tree.
After falling,behind early at 8-1, the Rams fought their way to the lead at 13-12. They held the lead for nearly the rest of the way and looked to have held an insurmountable lead at 77-68 with 1:40 remaining in the game. The Aggies were not to be deterred as they made shot after shot, one of which was an improbable heave from the corner. The same place UNMs Kendal Williams had fumbled and nailed a three ball last season against the Rams.
And when the Aggies tied the game up on a pair of Daniel Mullings free throws with 7 ticks left on the clock, the game looked like it was headed to OT.
But somehow an inbounds pass to Joe DeCiman found its way to Jon Octeus who dribbled furiously up the left side of the court. At the hash he began cutting toward the rim and when he took off about 15 feet from the basket it looked like one of his patemted runners might be in the cards. But Octeus saved his best assist for last (a career high 8) as he found JJ Avila alone at the rim for an uncontested layup. The final second was a formality as the Rams held on.
Avila was to overcome a foul interrupted first half, scoring 23 of his game high 29 in the second stanza. The points came from all over the floor as once again JJ showed his incredible offensive skills. Jon Octeus had 15, Marcus Holt and Daniel Bejarano added 11 each.
The telling stats for the team were what we have become familiar with under Larry Eustachy. A 45-36 rebounding advantage and +12 in turnover margin. Extra possessions and extra shots. Two more points than the other team. A famous victory and the Rams had moved their record to 6-2.
JJ Avila – This kid really does have some outrageous offensive skills. He can score from the perimeter, he can pull up and nail jumpers, and he can put the ball on the floor and get all the way to the rim where he finishes. And he shoots about 90% from the free throw line. He is not the quickest afoot but no matter. He just beats people
I talked with him a little after the game and he was bloodied and exhausted. When I asked if the game had been fun he responded with a “Not really. It was very tough out there.”
Daniel Bejarano – You cannot appreciate how much this kid does on the floor to help his team win. He did not shoot well tonight but he made a couple of three balls, finished at the rim, and made important free throws. He channeled his inner Pierce Hornung grabbing an offensive board after one of his own missed shots. He finished with a game high 15 rebounds, as he somehow got his 6’4″ frame high above everyone. Even with a brace on one knee that is not exactly feeling great right now. The 15 rebounds were 7 more than the 8 which 7’5″ Sim Bhullar of NMSU grabbed.
And after the game I asked Daniel one question. I asked if he had ever played a game where he out rebounded a 7’5″ guy by 15 to 8.
Daniel looked at me and said, “uh. No.”
And then we laughed.
That’s the stuff of wins.
I gotta be honest.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this one.
A small crowd with a handful of students, a 2:00pm start the day before Thanksgiving, and a quick turnaround after a game less than 48 hours before. And then the Wildcats of B-C decided to go all Wyoming of 2011-12 on the offensive end as they ran a weave for 15-20 seconds before even thinking about initiating their offense. Repeated 30 second possessions followed by a bunch of hero shots, some of which fell.
Enough to put my wife to sleep.
To the Rams’ credit they came out focused and weren’t lulled to sleep as they gradually established a double digit first half lead. They did it by playing honest man-to-man defense and attacking the paint on offense.
A slow start allowed B-C to halve the 14 point halftime lead after four minutes but the game never felt in doubt. The Rams got some,stops and trips to the free throw line and the lead was back in double digits.
Call it the lull before the storm. This team is so ready to take on better opponents and they will get their wish on Saturday with New Mexico State and Colorado on Tuesday.
Here’s all you need to know.
The Rams shot about 40% the other night against UNC. Tonight they shot about 65% in the first half as they bolted!put to a 49-31 halftime lead.
And it was a complete team effort as six players scored in double digits, led by Gerson Santo and Jon Octeus with 16 and freshman David Cohn with 15. The only player who didn’t score double figures was JJ Avila, the teams leading scorer who ended with a line of 8 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. As a team, the Rams dominated the glass with a margin of 20+ but felt like about 50+ as the Rams played volleyball on,the glass.
The Rams experimented with a 2-3 zone for the first time under Larry Eustachy. I think they played three possessions of zone. Prairie View shot 3-3 from beyond the arc. I have to think that Prairie View,knew how to attack a 2-3 because that is what they play mostly on the defensive end. It was amazing how comfortable they looked as opposed to how much they struggled against the Rams’ man to man D.
The Rams somehow figured a way to turn the ball over 11 times. The amazing part is that many of these aren’t the result of sloppiness but from unselfish players making the extra pass rather than taking a relatively easy shot. I’d rather have the coaching challenge of trying to get a team to be more selfish than trying to get them to pass. CSUs three leading scorers combined for 16 assists tonight. And the most unselfish play was made by Daniel Bejarano, who turned down a layup opportunity on a 2-on-1 break to set up Carlton Hurst for a dunk.
Combine the easy nine points Prairie View scored against the Rams zone and the Rams tossing points away with turnovers, and you realize that this was closer to a 40-point game. It was a strong performance by the Rams.
Some other stuff…
David Cohn made everything tonight. Everything. 3-3 from beyond the arc, a layup off a steal, and 4-4 free throws. It was a solid effort after Abe struggled against,UNC. His defense still has a long way to go for him to be an effective player at the MWC level.
Freshman Carlton Hurst is fun to watch too. He doesn’t possess a lot of scoring range,but he ain’t afraid to attack the big boys in the paint. And defensively he gets after it.
Both Joe DeCiman and Marcus Holt came off the bench to score double figures. DeCiman scored mostly from the outside and Holt at the hoop and the free throw line. Both were solid on the boards too.
one final thought…
I don’t know of CSU go better because the game seemed so one-sided. I liked a lot of what I saw in terms of the. Rams’ desire to get after it from the opening tip. I expect to see more of the same against Bethune Cookman,, the next opponent. But the real proof in the pudding will start to show up when CSU hosts New Mexico State on Saturday; the Aggies hold a pair of victories over UTEP who handled the Rams. And the Aggie game will be quickly followed by a game with CU. Both NMSU and CU will be good opponents to measure the Rams’ progress to date.
So here’s the deal.
With 9:08 left in the second half, the visiting Bears from Greeley took a 55-48 lead. At that point Ken Pomeroy, renowned college basketball analyst, would have given UNC a 70% chance of going home with a famous victory.
And with the Rams, other than JJ Avila, struggling to put the ball in the basket, it felt like 60 might be enough for UNC at that point. For more than 30 minutes, the Rams stumbled and bumbled and clanged shot after shot. At the same time the Bears, led by slick shooting guard Tevin Svehovec, we’re making shots. Didn’t matter if they were contested or open.
But a quick 6-point run punctuated by a thunderous flying dunk by big Marcus Holt gave the Rams some hope as they cut the lead to 55-54.
It still didn’t feel like it was in the cards.
The crowd rose to its feet clamoring for defense. UNC continued to answer with tough buckets. But the collective will of the Rams, led by the big three of Avila, Jon Octeus, and Daniel Bejarano began to emerge. Octeus and Bejarano had been disappointing for 33 minutes but now it was their time.
And somehow the Rams started to grab rebounds, make tough shots, get to the free throw line, force the Bears into misses. Bejarano made a tough jumper while being fouled. UNC countered with a 3-ball that was to give them their last lead at 62-61 at about the 5 minute mark.
CSU’s size was taking over but so was their collective belief. The Rams got every rebound, every loose ball down the stretch and made their free throws when it mattered. An Octeus runner late in the clock with just over a minute to go gave the Rams a 5-point lead and they were home free when UNC missed a three and chose to defend rather than foul.
Home free only because players like Octeus fought through a late cramp and Bejarano fought off a sore knee that found him in a brace for the entire second half.
A shot of Pierce Hornung sitting in the crowd was shown on the video board. It served to remind the crowd that hard work, blood and guts on the floor, and intelligent play can produce winning basketball.
And when the final horn sounded, the Rams had found a way.
As trite as it sounds, they left everything on the floor to produce a victory on a night when it probably should have gone the other way.
The numbers say…
The Rams out rebounded the Bears by 15. That was following an effort at UTEP where they had been out-rebounded by 20. The rebound margin produced a remarkable 18-0 advantage for the Rams in second chance points. Their aggressiveness in attacking the rim produced numerous trips to,the free throw line and they were able to convert, allowing them to overcome 41% shooting.
JJ Avila was fantastic again as he scored 28 on 9-13 from the field and 10-10 from the line. His line included 5 turnovers, four of which should have resulted in assists. Sometimes his unselfishness transcends his teammates ability to convert and costs the Rams.
One final thought …
I think they might have to install new rims at Moby. The Rams didn’t just miss, they flat out hurt those rims. Other than Avila and Marcus Holt, the rest of the team shot just over 20% and many of them were not close.
I know it’s a basketball blog but this is one day I am choosing to digress.
I’ll try to keep this simple.
Because I remember exactly where I was when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.
I was a 10-year-old in the 6th grade at Chenango Bridge Elementary School. Chenango Bridge was a suburb of Binghamton, NY. We had moved there the previous summer.
While I had been upset about moving, I was actually very happy at the time. I had made plenty of new friends over the summer and I really enjoyed the school. We had four sixth grade classes at the school and mine was taught by one Alice Totman. She was older, and certainly not high up there on the coolness factor, but I really liked her.
And I still remember some of the stuff that we discussed in school. I could show you where Laos was on a map. A tiny country in Southeast Asia where there was military activity involving the United States. It was south of China and next to another country known as Vietnam.
I learned that Cuba was located 90 miles to the United States because of Khruschev’s transporting of missiles to that country. I didn’t know where the Bay of Pigs was but we knew all about Guantanamo as a US military enclave.
I knew where Cape Canaveral was on the east coast of Florida. I believe I was blessed to have grown up when I did, getting to go to school assemblies to watch rockets launch men into space. It was the coolest thing. Hundreds of us gathered in an auditorium watching a 25″ black and white TV. Plumes of smoke, a loud roar, and the elegance as the rocket slowly left the pad.
And so there we were on the playground that November 22nd of 1963. We were at recess throwing a football around. And then the announcement came from one of the teachers.
“President Kennedy has been shot. Everybody needs to come inside.”
We trudged back into the building and were assembled in front of a TV. A much different kind of assembly than we were used to. In time we were to receive the news that President Kennedy had died from his wounds.
And I remember the NFL canceling games that weekend and us going out and playing a vigorous game of tackle football the following Monday because they gave us the day off from school.