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Late Flurry Falls Short As CSU Loses 70-68 To Boise State

January 30, 2019

A highly improbable comeback that nearly had a miracle finish would have been a great story. It would have overcome nearly 30 minutes of OK effort and decent play and maybe put the Rams over the top. But it didn’t as the Rams have only themselves to blame for finishing on the wrong side of the final score.

They had won the turnover battle by 3, they had won the rebounding battle by 14 including an amazing offensive rebounding edge of 14-2. The result was that they created 18 more shots from the field than their opponents. Those are numbers that usually result in big wins. But not this time.

And the reason is simple.

One of my favorite coaches used to spout a line that holds true.

“The aggressor always wins.”

And it was the lack of aggression that was CSU’s downfall.

Defensively they were not running through screens hard enough and they were not as close and physical with their on ball defense. Boise was cold for the first 8 minutes opening 3-12 but shot about 75% from the field over the final 30 minutes as a result. It was OK effort by the Rams, just not winning effort.

Offensively they found themselves a bit flummoxed when Boise shifted to a 2-3 zone which brought the pace to the Bronco’s liking. CSU remained perimeter focused and when they got the ball into the paint they settled for midrange shots rather than attacking the rim. Coming into the game Boise regularly put MWC opponents on the free throw line. The Rams shot 0 free throws in the first half!

The Rams trailed by 5 at the half but the second half opened with promise as JD Paige made his way to the rim and was fouled! He converted the two free throws.

They were to be the last free throws until the final four minutes. Boise continued to exploit the Rams inside and out and when they pushed their lead to 11, the Broncos seemed well on their way to scoring a nice road win.

CSU had struggled from the perimeter after making a few three’s early but somehow heated up enough to make it a game down the stretch, led by Anthony Masinton-Bonner and Hyron Edwards. The Rams were within three with the ball inside 20 seconds but a smart foul on Nico Carvacho inside of 10 seconds forced a missed front end of a 1-and-1, the Rams fouled, and Boise converted a free throw to lead by 4.

Game over?

Not quite as JD Paige was fouled shooting a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds. The Rams only chance was for Paige to make the first two, then somehow tip ia miss and put the game into OT.

Paige drained the first and then the second. He missed the third perfectly and Carvacho came flying across the lane, grabbed the ball, and just missed at the buzzer.

It would have been a finish for the ages to put the game into OT but it wasn’t to be. Boise had done just enough to walk away with a win.

The Rams had played OK. They had shared the ball to the tune of 22 assists on 27 made baskets. They had missed a bunch of open looks from the perimeter but still had chances to get back into the game.

Hopefully they learned a lesson. Games aren’t won by accident or by talent. They are won by the team that plays harder over 40 minutes.

Hopefully they learned that the aggressor always wins.

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