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Buffs Move To Top of CFRL With 56-48 Win Over Rams

December 14, 2019

Playing the best defense seen in Moby in the last I don’t know how many years, the CSU Rams hounded the CU Buffs into 21 turnovers, allowed only 6 points in the paint, and a season low .82 points per possession as they rolled to a solid rivalry victory.

That’s what the lede should be.

But it isn’t as CSU scored a ridiculously low .70 points per possession on 29% shooting from the field, including 2-21 from beyond the arc. Sure the visitors deserve some of the credit with their defensive effort but the home side had plenty of opportunities where they were unchecked and still manufactured ways to miss.

And with that it was the Buffs who left Moby with an important win, putting a stop to a 2-game losing streak and moving to 8-2 and 2-0 in Crackers Front Range League.

The first half was not worthy of wasted words as the Rams dug themselves a 27-12 hole, shooting 18% and goose-egged on 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Only a strong defensive effort kept them within 30.

They began the second half smartly, as sophomore Adam Thistlewood stuck his teams three-ball but a timeout oBy CU and a counter run by the Buffs pushed them back into their largest lead of the night at 33-17.

Over the next 10 minutes, CSU delivered a defensive clinic as they forced turnovers and shot clock violations. Offensively they went to work attacking the paint. They mounted an improbable comeback, fueled by a small lineup that put the Buffs on their heels. And when freshman David Roddy went coast-to-coast after a steal to throw one down and followed it with another score in the paint, the Rams had tied the game at 39.

The crowd erupted and Moby was alive. CU’s Shane Gatling nailed a short jumper, but the Rams then followed with several clean looks to put their collective noses in front.

They failed.

The first was a Kendle Moore three point miss in transition off another steal, the second a Roddy miss from the perimeter, and the third was a completely inexplicable point-blank miss from Kris Martin.

Make them all and you lead by 7. Make one of them and get your nose in front and who knows?

But it wasn’t to be and the Buffs prevailed. When Gatling violently blocked a Carvacho follow at the one minute mark, the Buffs were essentially home free as they closed out the game from the stripe.

Gatling came off the bench to lead the Buffs with 20 and big Lucas Siewert chipped in another 12 off the bench. Both hit crucial shots in the second half when the Buffs were struggling to conjure up any points. Both are seniors who rose to the top when their teammates needed it.

CSU was led by freshmen Isaiah Stevens with 10. Roddy, Carvacho, and Thistlewood each had 9.

But in the end, even though their defense had allowed them to get up 15 more shots than the Buffs, they fell because they couldn’t find the basket. Not just in the first half, but in crucial moments of the second half after they had courageously fought their way back.

Other Stuff

I tweeted out pre-game that the officials were John Higgins, Tony Padilla, and Verne Harris and that we wouldn’t see a better officiating crew all year. They did not disappoint. They called the game beautifully. Higgins and Harris have worked NCAA Championship games and Padilla deserves to as well. NCAA should take note.

While seniors Nico Carvacho and Kris Martin struggled, several of the youngsters rose to the occasion. None more so than David Roddy who took over the game during the Rams big run in the second half. Strong enough to finish at the rim going chest to chest with 6’8″ 280 lb Evan Battey, agile enough to poke the ball away from CUs All PAC 12 guard McKinley Wright and go coast to coast and finish with a two-hand slam.

Going into the game I had concerns whether CSU could figure out a way to slow down McKinley Wright. Wright had torched CSU in the last two seasons (18 points and 11 assists last year) and with CSU having issues keeping other opponents guards out of the paint, it appeared Herculean. The combination of Kendle Moore, Stevens, and Hyron Edwards held Wright to 2 points and 3 assists and forced 4 turnovers. The CSU guards were also fantastic defending CU’s bigs in the paint as they were caught inside many times due to switches. It takes a high level of toughness for a guy like Kendle Moore at 150 lbs to lean on a 280 lb big like Battey.

And finally I have to add that some Buff fans are really dumb. Guy in front of me was trying to explain that CSU had switched from a zone defense in the first half to man-to-man in the second half. I had to inform him that what he was seeing was a switching man-to-man that was keeping the Buffs in check and that they had played it the entire game.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Fabian Family permalink
    December 15, 2019 1:31 am

    Hey Swoll:. Questions about the defense. It seems to me that CSU is switching way more than typical for a run of the mill man-to-man defense. Is my observation correct? And I don’t remember this level of switching from last year’s team – was there a change in the D this year? And finally is there a term for the kind of man to man D CSU is using this year?

  2. Fabian Family permalink
    December 15, 2019 1:34 am

    As an aside, why most folks were frustrated by this game, I was heartened by the fact that we could shoot so incredibly horrible and keep playing hard-nosed basketball and stay in the game.

    • December 15, 2019 1:51 am

      The effort was there and the defense was impeccable. I did some research and it was CSU’s best defensive performance in Moby against a Top 50 team in the past 10 years.

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