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Rams win Sun Bowl Invitational

December 30, 2011

I wasn’t there but wish I could have been.

CSU is playing their best basketball right now. Sure Pierce Hornung is back making 50/50 balls his. But the rest of the team is getting better too.

Wes Eikmeier got off to a hot start at Duke and then he was held scoreless for the final 30 minutes as the Blue Devils threw the kitchen sink at him defensively. The consensus of people who were at Cameron was that Wes would come out of that game a better player. And he most certainly has. Since then he has scored 20.3 ppg, shooting 28-47 from the field and 15-17 from the free throw line. Wes made the plays that put UTEP away down the stretch in the first game and was unstoppable in the second half last night as he ended up with 25. His performance earned him the tournament MVP Award.

Will Bell deservedly was selected to the All-Tournament team as well. He has benefitted the most since the return of Hornung as he doesn’t have to play too many minutes and hold back defensively for fear of foul trouble. He delivered a pair of 12-point performances in El Paso and has been delivering more assists than turnovers in the past 4 games, a strong stat for a big.

Dwight Smith had 15 last night on 5-5 shooting from the field. Included in his field goals were a 3-pointer and a thunderous dunk. He probably benefitted the most from Hornung’s absence as he was thrust into a more strategic role. He has parlayed the opportunity into a starter’s role and while still struggling with committing some ticky-tack fouls has delivered night after night.

Dorian Green struggled with his outside shooting in El Paso but delivered a pair of solid floor games coming off his career-high game at UNC.

The team’s record now stands at 9-4 with a pair of home games left against Nebraska-Omaaha and Denver prior to beginning MWC play. Last year’s team went 11-4 in the OOC and they can match that playing a little harder schedule.

Beyond the game

So I did get a couple of eyewitness accounts from EL Paso.

The first was from a proud parent who told me that the Sun Bowl Trophy was beautiful as the team was accepting it and getting their pictures taken. Much like his son and the rest of the team, he focused on the team’s accomplishment and the result.

I have had a chance to meet a lot of the parents and they are pretty much all that way.. I have sat next to football parents in Hughes Stadium and they are more concerned with their own kids and rarely cheer for the team. Not so with the basketball parents. They cheer the successes of the other players and the team.

The second eyewitness account told me that Don Haskins’ son approached Tim Miles after the game and told him that his dad would have loved this CSU team and the way they played.

High praise indeed and well-deserved.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2011 3:55 pm

    Who wrote this? A little girl?

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