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Rams’ Late Collapse leads to 80-78 Arkansas State Win

November 21, 2019

A 17-point lead early into the second half.

A 15-point lead at the under 12 minutes timeout.

And then something happened.

It would be easy to blame it on youthful makeup of Colorado State. But that would be a ridiculous excuse because the same group had built the lead in the first place.

No, the collapse came because somewhere during that under 12 timeout, the Rams forgot everything about playing defense.

As in stopping the ball. As in not leaving your feet. As in closing out on perimeter players properly. As in hustling back in transition.

How bad was it you ask?

In the final 12 minutes the Rams’ defense allowed (according to my rough calculations) a whopping 1.75 points per Arkansas State possession.

How horrendous is that?

A normal game might have about 70 possessions. A great defensive team operates at about .9 . Season to date the Rams have been in the 1.00 area. And that’s about where they were for the first 28 minutes. 45 points on somewhere between 45 and 50 possessions.

You could attribute some of it to ridiculous shot-making by the visiting Red Wolves. A banked-in three ball from the wing, a baseline jumper with a player falling to the floor.

But here’s the deal on that.

Take those 5 points away and the Rams still allowed 30 points on those last 20 possessions. The math produces a still whopping 1.5 points per possession.

Yes the Rams could have played better offensively down the stretch. A missed free throw here, a poor pass there, a wide open look missed from the perimeter but they did more than enough offensively over 40 minutes to win the game.

But it was guards Isaiah Stevens and Kendle Moore getting repeatedly overpowered by Wolves guards on their way to the paint, either scoring at the rim or from the free throw line. It was wide open threes caused by horrible transition defense or poor rotations.

And before you knew it the Rams were in a tie game in the final minute. The Rams had the ball with a chance to take the lead but a poor connection between CSU’s Moore and David Roddy led to a Red Wolf steal.

There was an air of inevitability as Arkansas State ran down the clock and iso’ed guard Marquis Eaton on Stevens. To his credit, Stevens stayed in front of Eaton who calmly stepped back beyond the three point line and rattled home a three ball (their 13th make on their 20th shot from beyond the arc!)

The Rams still had a chance and the ball found its way to Carvacho in the paint who finished while being fouled. Carvacho missed the free throw, the Rams fouled. There was still a chance after Arkansas State converted 1-2 free throws but the Rams never got a shot up as first Moore was stopped going to the rim and then a lob to Carvacho failed to connect.

And that was that.

The Red Wolves of Arkansas State had scored a famous road win, fueled mightily by the Rams’ unacceptable effort on the defensive end.

1.75 points per possession.

Other Stuff

Nico Carvacho became the first played in Mountain West Conference history to record 1000 points and 1000 rebounds. It is a remarkable individual achievement and one that should be celebrated. But damn, the feeling was spoiled by the Rams’ collapse.

Led by David Roddy’s 14 points, CSU’s freshmen scored a total of 35 points. Isaiah Stevens continued his stellar offensive play with 11 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists. John Tonje had 6 and Dischon Thomas had 4 in less than 10 minutes of action for each.

One Final Thought…

I’ve seen some pretty amazing comebacks in Moby over the years. I don’t recall the Rams ever being the victim of a 17-point second half turnaround. As a fan, this one hurt.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Fabian Family permalink
    November 22, 2019 12:04 am

    Hey Swoll, that was painful. Speaking of defense. Do you think we will see PJ Byrd on the floor this year?

    • November 22, 2019 12:09 am

      I don’t think we’ll see PJ this season unless there’s a serious injury to one of the guards. I think the plan is to redshirt PJ. I talked with Niko before the season and he was very much up in the air regarding redshirts. He wanted to be confident he could give somebody a minimum of 5 minutes a game throughout the season. The two guys he was on the edge were Tonje and Bird.

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