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Colorado State 78-Cal State Bakersfield 58

December 20, 2012

In an entertaining affair, the Rams ran their home winning streak at Moby to 19 over the visiting Roadrunners of Bakersfield.

In doing so, CSU overcame a bit of a slow start, some of which was the result of some shoddy defending and some of which was the Roadrunners’ ability to make contested shots from the perimeter.

The Rams were letting the Roadrunners dictate the tempo of the game with their pressing tactics on defense, their conservative play on offense, and the use of hockey style substitutions at every whistle.

But the game started to swing in the final minutes of the first half as CSU picked up the intensity on the defensive end, taking Bakersfield out of their comfort zone offensively. A halftime deficit of 1 was quickly overcome at the start of the second half and the Rams were able to grind their way to a 20-point win.

Wes Eikmeier led five Rams in double figures with 17. Daniel Bejarano came off the bench to grab a team leading 9 rebounds.

But it wasn’t about the individual play last night. It was about the team play on both ends of the floor.

It was about a defense that got better as the game went on, contesting shots, grabbing rebounds, forcing turnovers. Early in the game, Bakersfield was shooting over 60%. At games end they were at 37%

It was about an assertive and unrelenting offense characterized by plenty of movement and unselfish play. Field goal % of 50 with 18 assists on 27 baskets.

Still an unfinished product with plenty of room for growth. But lots to like.

Especially the five fingers becoming one fist.

Back to the future – So there was a great article in The Coloradoan yesterday that spoke volumes about Larry Eustachy’s coaching abilities. It talked about making changes to the offense that incorporated more of the previous coach’s philosophies. He and his staff used the break during finals and the first reviews after the North Florida and Bakersfield games are glowing! And the improved offense is coming incorporated with Eustachy’s trademark emphasis on defense, rebounding, and minimizing turnovers.

One offensive play says it all – Early in the second half a pair of Colton Iverson field goals had given the Rams a lead. It was followed by Eikmeier attacking the defense, pulling up at the elbow and passing to Dorian Green who was wheeling from the wing. Green attacked and scored an and-1. Beautiful!

Speaking of defense – The final margin of 20 certainly does not give a picture of how close the game was as CSU led by only 5 with only 7:48 remaining in the game. The Rams then went on a 21-6 run over the next 7 minutes and it was fueled by a defense that forced Bakersfield into tough shots and didn’t foul. I stress the didn’t foul part. Last years team would allow opponents to stay close with unnecessary fouls. During the 7 minute run last night, the Rams only committed one foul and it was Wes Eikmeier contesting a perimeter jumper. Absolutely nothing in the paint!

“We need Wes” – So there was a point in the second half where the Rams were looking a little challenged offensively. My wife turned to me and whispered “We need Wes”. About 3 seconds later, Larry Eustachy tapped Eikmeier to go into the game. My wife and Eustachy are now on the same wave length! I’m in trouble.

Who were those guys! – Its not very often that we see an officiating crew where I only recognize one of the three. That one happened to be Randy McCall, who earned his money last night covering for a pair of clowns in striped shirts. The minor offender was Hal Lusk, who works primarily MVC and Summit League games. The major offender was Tim Marion, who for some reason was the lead official. Marion works primarily the SWAC and the Southland Conferences, two low level conferences where guys play undisciplined gym ball. He was absolutely clueless last night. Marion was working only his 3rd game of the year. Remarkably, one of the other two was a Bakersfield game against Wyoming. I’m trying to figure out if he is Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes’ caddy.

A fan named Bill – So at halftime, a CSU fan who reads this blog came over to me and introduced himself. His first name is Bill (I don’t know how to spell the last name so Im not going to try). We chatted for a little bit. He has been attending CSU games since the 60’s and can tell stories of players like Billy Green and visiting players like Billy (The Hill) McGill. He complimented me on my blog. In truth, I am the grateful one for getting to meet him. I grew up on the East Coast and was attending games back there in the 60’s. If my blog allows me to keep meeting people like Bill, my life will be that much richer.

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