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Colorado State 72 – San Jose State 56

February 26, 2015

It was Senior Night.

The weather outside was abysmal, leaving plenty of empty seats.

JJ Avila, one of the seniors, was dressed in street clothes dealing with back issues.

The visitors were 0-14 in the MWC and had not won a game against a Division 1 opponent all season.

Throw that into the blender and you get what you got.  A mish-mash of good play, some bad play, emotion and love elevated higher than the quality of play on the court.

The Rams, starting senior Marcus Holt in Avila’s place, jumped out to an early lead and the game was pretty much over at the 13:32 mark when Daniel Bejarano drained a three-ball to push the lead to 17.3.

Larry Eustachy used his bench wisely and often in the first half and the Rams extended the lead to 35-12 with just over 5 minutes remaining in the half.  All 10 Rams who had played to that point scored.

From that point on, the game became unwatchable as the Rams slogged their way to the finish. From a fan perspective it was like being in a horrible traffic jam on the way to a family Thanksgiving celebratiuon.  The traffic sucks, there’s not a lot to do other than sit around, but you’re warmed by the fact that eventually the traffic will break, you will get to your destination, and you will have plenty of fun and laughter.

That being said, the Moby torch was passed from a great group of seniors to a junior class that stepped up and showed their love every step of the way.

Joe DeCiman played his finest game as a Ram, scoring 18 and grabbing 9 rebounds while stifling the Spartans’ Rashad Muhammed, a kid who can really fill it up from the perimeter.  DeCiman filled out his line in Bejarano fashion with 2 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

Tiel Daniels dominated in the paint. scoring 7 and grabbing 14 rebounds. He also scared the Spartans enough around the hoop in the first half as the opponents did not score a 2-point FG until the final seconds of the half.

And Gian Clavell came off the bench to score 12, nailing a couple of three-balls along the way and playing stout defense.

Daniel Bejarano started hot but cooled off, finishing the game with 8 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists.  A late TO resulted in Coach Larry Eustachy setting up a play for Daniel to shoot a three-ball from the corner as his final shot in Moby.  He missed. It didnt matter to the fans who were waiting to shower him with their love post-game.

With under a minute to go, both Bejarano and Stanton Kidd (who scored 14) were subbed for and the fans achknowledged them with a nice standing ovation.  The final buzzer sounded, the traffic jam ended, and Thanksgiving could begin.

More Thoughts…   The post-game ceremony was nice.  Of course the biggest cheers were reserved for Daniel Bejarano who has left a lot of blood, sweat, toil, and tears on the Moby floor over his years in Fort Collins.  But the roars were also loud for Marcus Holt, Stanton Kidd, and JJ Avila.  As always, the ceremony was tastefully done by the Ram AD.  

JJ Avila assured me that he will be back for the Nevada game. I’m sure it was difficult for him to sit out the game as he is the ultimate competitor  but he is mature enough to know that there are bigger fish to fry.  Two huge road games that will have a great impact on the post-season opportunities for the Rams.

One Final Thought… I know I’ve poked a lot of fun at San Jose State over the course of the season. They really are not very good.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that they are horribly coached or that they play lousy.  They showed the opposite in Moby.  They tried to execute their stuff for the entire 40 minutes on both ends of the floor.  They ran some nice sets, some great in-bounds plays, and could have easily quit but didnt. It also would have been easy to get frustrated and do some stupid things on the court but they didnt.  They were completely professional in the way they played and the way they went about their business. That is a testament to their coach Dave Wojcik and to their players.  I was able to shake Muhammed’s hand after the game and tell him he played a good game. I would have done the same with all of them if I could. 

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