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Rams’ Second Half Surge Enough to Overcome Spartans 78-71

February 23, 2020

A combination of stifling defense, sharing the ball on offense, and the toughness to overcome some curious officiating in the second half propelled the Rams to their 19th win of the season and 10th in conference play.

Adam Thistlewood with Stan Hornung

Enough to overcome a mistake-prone first half where the Rams turned the ball over 12 times and committed uncharacteristically poor fouls which gave the visitors from the crotch of Silicon Valley far too many uncontested points. Three fouls on San Jose three-pointers, a foul 90’ from the basket with 2 seconds on the clock, led to 11 free throws of which the Spartans converted 9. Passes to no one in particular led to an amazing 28 points off turnovers for the game, most of which came in the first half.

A poor enough half for the Rams to go into the locker room trailing 43-40. They had shot 56% from the field and 50% from the three-point line and trailed. It wasnt an issue with effort. It was an issue between the ears. On top of that, they failed to defend San Jose’s Seneca Knight with any effectiveness, allowing the Spartan sophomore to ride a streak of hot shooting on his way to 26 first half points. 26!

But the Rams came out in the second half with a razor sharp focus of defense, limiting Wallace’s ability to score by trapping him off of screens and forcing the ball into other shooters’ hands. And even though their shooting percentage fell off from the first half, they shared the ball enough to score at the rim and converted at the free throw line.

The game was still tied at 59 with just over 8 minutes remaining before a Ram 14-2 run, bookended by Kendle Moore and Kris Martin three-balls propelled them into a 73-61 lead inside four minutes. And while the Spartans came back with an 8-point run of their own, the Rams effectively killed the game at the free throw line.

Adam Thistlewood led the Rams with 16 points, 14 of which came in the first half featuring 4-7 shooting from the perimeter, the first of which came from Timnath. Dischon Thomas came of the bench to score 13 on 6-6 shooting, scoring on an arsenal of jumpers, leaners, and dunks. Niko Carvacho recorded the 48th double-double of his career with 10 and 12. And David Roddy overcome a poor first half to finish with 10, scoring at the rim and the free throw line.

Dischon Thomas post San Jose State

Seneca Knight was the story for the Spartans, finishing with a career high 37. But the Rams held him to only one field goal in the second half, a late runner.

Other Stuff

I referred to some curious officiating that occurred on the second half. I have seen mostly very good officiating in Moby this year. Not this afternoon. The first 4 minutes of the second half were especially atrocious, punctuated by a technical foul call on Carvacho for daring to show pleasure with an over-the-back foul call that was the third such foul in about 30 seconds but the only one called. Thistlewood pushed a couple of times with no call. Kendle Moore pummeled on a loose ball. Kris Martin run over drawing an obvious charge called a block.

CSU’s Bench delivered on a day when they really needed it. Thomas was perfect from the floor and contributed a pair of steals. Kris Martin with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 24 minutes; and it was his effort defending Wallace that fueled the Rams in the second half. All in all, 29 points from the bench.

Kris Martin with Jan Carpenter

Kris Martin was honored pre-game for scoring his 1000th point earlier in his career. Most of those points came at Oral Roberts before transferring to CSU. Fortunately he chose to stick it out with CSU with the regime change. His senior leadership, along with that of Carvacho and Hyron Edwards, has been instrumental in the Rams’ revival.

On To San Diego where the Rams will face the formerly undefeated and now angry San Diego State Aztecs who were upset at home by UNLV. It was a night that SDSU hung their MWC championship banner and the Rebels did not take a liking to that. The Rams’ broadcast team will be without color man Adam Nigon, whose wife is expecting a child shortly. Good luck in the next few days Adam! Word is that Pierce Hornung might be in San Diego and be invited as a guest color man. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Pierce spent his time telling Nigon stories? Even more awesome if the Rams can pull out a win!

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