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Colorado State 75 – Charleston Southern 54

December 23, 2014

Before the game, I asked a former high school friend who resides in Charleston what he knew about the visitors.

He said “Their coach is Barclay Radebaugh — a very well-traveled guy who has worked for/with people like Eddie Fogler and Gregg Marshall. His perimeter is experienced and capable — Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley. If they get you into a reasonably measured pace, they can be problematic. Barclay historically has used multiple defenses: man, match-up zone, assorted zone presses. My guess is your CSU will prevail, but the “other” CSU has picked off a few high majors in the past. Enjoy it! And the holidays! ”
Needless to say I enjoyed it as the CSU Rams of Fort Collins had their way with the CSU Buccaneers of Charleston..

The teams traded baskets early but a pair of three-pointers by Stanton Kidd and Daniel Bejarano opened a 19-9 lead inside of 12 minutes and the Rams were never threatened again. They were guarding all of the Buccaneers’ actions and contesting virtually every shot. They closed the half on a 9-0 run that pushed the lead to 38-21.

The run extended into the second half, finally stopping at 21-0 and pushing the score to 50-21. And while the offense was demonstrating the unselfishness, creativity, and firepower, it was the work on the defensive end that stood out tonight.

The final numbers are meaningless because this game started to approach the equivalent of garbage time when the score reached 53-23 with about 15 minutes remaining. It was a complete team effort as the Rams were forcing turnovers, gathering rebounds from contested shots, and then turning them into points at the other end.

An efficient and unselfish offense produced 24 baskets on 19 assists, moving the Rams to the 6th best team in the nation in assists to made baskets ratio. More than once they made the extra pass, turning down a good look for a better look.

And when it was showtime, they made plays that gave the feeling I was watching an NBA game.

An Avila steal, an outlet to Bejarano, and a lob for a dunk by Tiel Daniels was the start.

Seconds later a Bejarano rebound had Daniel pushing the ball up the right side of the court. He spotted Stanton Kidd on the left and delivered a crosscourt bounce pass at full speed. Kidd caught the pass and buried a three-pointer. From start to fish the play lasted seconds.

But the topper came minutes later when John Gillon grabbed a rebound deep on the wing, avoided a defender with a behind the back drippble and found Bejarano in the middle. Bejarano penetrated the lane, then delivered a behind the back bounce pass to Stanton Kidd who buried another three-ball.

Here’s the link to the video

Bejarano led the way, scoring 15 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and delivering 6 assists. John Gillon added 14, Kidd 12, JJ Avila had a quiet 11, and Gian Clavell scored 10. Five players in double figures with two of them off the bench.

With the win, the Rams moved their record to 12-0, breaking the school’s all-time record for best start and also the longest winning streak in school history.

Other thoughts…

I always have a hard time with national rankings this time of year. The Rams finally cracked their way into the Top 25 in both the AP and Coaches’ Polls. They are certainly deserving of national recognition, not just for the record but for the quality of their play. But we’re so fortunate to have a post-season tournament where 68 teams are invited to play for a national championship. Information other than rankings are responsible for tournament seeding. Its all about getting into the tournament through the quality of play, not what some writer in Oshkosh, Wisconsin thinks about you.

You always wonder how a team will perform this time of year, especially after being ranked for the first time. If tonight’s game was a test, the Rams would have been given an A+. They continue to get better on both ends of the floor and now they have another player, Fred Richardson, eligible. Richardson adds a solid 6’6′ frame and some very good skills on both sides of the ball.

The Rams have one more OOC game, a roadie at New Mexico State on Saturday before they begin the MWC portion of their schedule at home with Boise State. The Rams look to be a team that can compete for an MWC title and the Boise game will be an important affair.

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