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Rams Drub Falcons 87-74 on Senior Day

March 1, 2020

Nothing on the line for either team in terms of their position in the MWC standings. But plenty on the line in search of their 20th regular season win, a rivalry game,and a day when they were saying goodbye to their three seniors. And of course an important Crackers Front Range League tilt.

Hyron and Kris post-game

And the Rams made sure the visitors from Colorado Springs felt their wrath as they came out of the gate fast and furious, establishing a double-digit lead before the clock struck 10 minutes, a lead they would never relinquish.

Nico post-game

The Rams trailed 8-4 early but it wasn’t for a lack of effort. They were flying around defensively, getting into passing lanes, deflecting passes but their efforts were going to naught as somehow the ball was still finding its ways into Falcon hands who converted into an 8-4 lead.

And then it happened.

The Rams unleashed a 19-2 run that rendered the Falcons wingless as the ball started to find their hands defensively, they ran the floor hard, and found their shooting form. A three-ball from senior Kris Martin gave the Rams their first lead at 9-8, Adam Thistlewood came off the bench to tickle the twine on a trailing three in transition from Timnath (thats alliteration folks!), and Kendle Moore concluded the run with his first three of the game after a pair of offensive rebounds by John Tonje.

The scoreboard read 23-10 and the Falcons never threatened again as the Rams crisply executed their offensive sets, led by freshman guard Isaiah Stevens but supported by an entire selfless crew. Stevens would finish the game with 7 assists. For the game, the Rams assisted on 25 of their 29 field goals, an incredibly high assist percentage of 86%.

The players were clicking and the crowd was roaring, ready to celebrate their seniors as they led by 18 with 4 minutes remaining.

And then Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich happened. His team had been outclassed the entire game but he wasnt going to allow the home team and fans to enjoy it. A series of fouling and timeouts took all of the air and energy out of the gym. The Falcons never got closer than 8 but it didn’t stop the Falcons from fouling Nico Carvacho 60’ from the ball and completely away from the play. Some people would call it fighting until the very end. Others would call it disrespecting the game.

It made for an awkward final seconds as CSU coach Niko Medved wanted to get his seniors Carvacho, Martin, and Edwards a final round of applause but could only get them into the game together with 17 seconds remaining. A timeout with 6 seconds remaining and the seniors would leave the Moby court as victors in their final home game to a loud and appreciative ovation.

Kendle Moore lead 5 Rams in double figures, all of his 21 points coming on 7-11 shooting from beyond the arc. Stevens would finish with 14 and 7, David Roddy with 14 along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Carvacho had 12 and Thistlewood 11 off the bench as he ceded his starting role in respect to senior Kris Martin. The Falcons were led by senior LaVelle Scottie who finished with 20.

Other Stuff

Kendle Moore missed his first two attempts from beyond the arc. He then proceeded to make 6 in a row. A miss and another make and next thing you know he had a career-high seven bombs. His performance was enough to make him the conference leader in Effective Field Goal% (62.9%) and Three Point Shooting % (45.9%) in MWC games.

Of course I gave him some crap after the game because he had Air Force all spread out when he missed that attempt at 7 consecutive makes. I told him he should have given them a shot fake and delivered his patented flying and spinning finish at the rim. He smiled at me and said two words. “Heat Check”.

Nico Carvacho, Hyron Edwards, and Kris Martin successfully concluded their CSU careers with an emphatic victory. Carvacho will be remembered the the All-time MWC leader in rebounds and double-doubles and in all likelihood a CSU Hall off Fame career. Just as important, the three of them will be linked together and remembered as the guys who stayed at CSU rather than transferring and the catalysts for CSU’s resurgence.

Nico, Hyron, and Kris with a post-game selfie

A Homecoming of Sorts as former CSU players Jason Smith and Andy Ogide made their way to Moby for Senior Day. It took a little work on my part and a lot of cooperation on their parts to get them together for a picture with Nico Carvacho. There’s a lot of history of CSU Mens Basketball in this picture of three All-MWC First Team centers. All it needed was Colton Iverson.

Nico, Jason, Andy – thats a lot of points and rebounds!

Freshman Isaiah Stevens all but wrapped up the Mountain West Freshman of the Year award with a brilliant 14 point and 7 rebound effort. There were several great passes but the best of which was a second-half drive where he skillfully attacked the paint and avoided an offensive foul as he dished to Carvacho for an and-1. He even had Air Force’s LaVelle Scottie saluting him.

Sir, Yessir!

And finally, The Rams got to 20 wins for the first time since 2017 and the first time in the Niko Medved Era. It was a remarkable regular season as the Rams regularly play 4 freshmen and 2 sophomores in their 9-man rotation. 20 wins for the 296th least experienced team in the country is quite an accomplishment. Tremendous senior leadership, a talented young group, and a hard-working and smart bunch of coaches has the Rams poised to continue their climb in the Mountain West.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Carpenter permalink
    March 1, 2020 5:27 pm

    Right on, as always, Swoll. Loved seeing the veterans back. CSU basketball!!! Onward to Vegas where green and gold will show ’em!

  2. Terry Pettit permalink
    March 2, 2020 12:23 am

    Good stuff Steve!

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