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Colorado State 72 – Colorado 63

December 3, 2017

I’m going to keep this simple because there wasn’t a lot of rocket science in this one. Rivalry games are meant to be street fights, not chess matches.

Colorado State came into this game struggling. Part of it was caused by a difficult road schedule but the real issue had been a lack of effort of the defensive end of the floor and rather average efforts on the glass. Spurts of really good play but 5 minutes here and there instead of all 40 minutes. Not a formula for success. And so this game posed an important question for the Rams.

Could they get excited enough about their undefeated in-state rival coming into their house to play hard on both ends of the floor for an entire game?

And the Rams answered “Yes” as they pummeled the Buffs on the glass, took the rhythm of the Buffs dribble drive attack away with intelligent switching D, and aggressively attacked the rim on the offensive end.

The instigator was redshirt junior JD Paige who played with passion it takes to lead a team to a big win. Paige scored from the perimeter, the midrange and the paint on his way to a 16-point night. But it was his effort on the defensive end that set him above the rest as he drew the assignment of guarding the speedy, bouncy and talented McKinley Wright. Paige took Wright out of the flow and the rest of the Rams followed the leader by repeatedly denying the Buffs in the paint.

The Rams opened up a first half lead but it melted with Paige getting a blow. They expanded their lead to 17 in the second half fueled by a thunderous Paige dunk to finish a 3 on 2 break. But a CU press with Paige once again getting a blow brought the Buffs quickly back within 6 at the 5-minute mark and the game was very much in the balance.

The final 5 minutes weren’t pretty but the Rams scratched and clawed and fought like a team committed and they did enough at the free throw line to keep the Buffs at bay.

A big rivalry win for sure but more importantly, it was a game where the Rams finally began to unlock their potential. If it took a rival to open it up, so be it. I have no problem if they want to envision every opponent wearing a big, black Buffalo on their jersey if it inspires them to play at that level for all 40 minutes. Because if they do, chances are that we’ll continue to see the same outcome.

Other thoughts…

Sometimes all you have to do is take a glance at the stats boards in the Moby corners to see what’s really going on. The R column for the Rams was filled with crooked numbers. As a team they were committed to grabbing every carom. Deion James led the way with 10 but the rest of the starters read 9,7,6,5. The Buffs starters read 8,7,2,2,0. In a nutshell, that was the game.

Not a lot of Rook to Q4.

Im not going to harp on a smallish crowd. I was there as were plenty of my fellow empassioned fans. Those in attendance were loud and involved through the entire game. Even when it’s not filled, Moby can rock!

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