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Rams Ride Deep Bench in Scintillating 88-79 Comeback Win Over Northern Colorado

November 28, 2021

In a game where the visiting Bears could not seemingly miss from the perimeter, somehow the CSU Rams found a way to get their collective noses in front by game’s end, scoring a great victory over the local in-state visitors from Greeley.

The Rams did it by gradually wearing the Bears down with their deeper bench, outscoring the Bears’ bench 39-14. But it wasn’t until the Rams found the proper defensive combination of 5 players that they were able to get over the hump.

UNC opened up an early 17-7 lead as they drained 5 of their first 6 shots from beyond the arc. The teams went back and forth and midway through the first stanza, the Bears led 25-18. The Rams went on an extended 18-2 run over the next 5 minutes as big Dischon Thomas and freshman guard Jalen Lake catapaulted them into a 36-27 lead. Early anxiety in the crowd of 4328 gave way to a feeling that all was now right for the Rams to forge ahead.

Unfortunately for the Rams, the Bears decided that wasnt the case and immediately went on a crazy 15-point run of their own as three different players made three’s and the Rams settled for outside shots. A late layup by David Roddy sent the visitors into the locker room leading 41-38.

The Bears had shot 11-20 from beyond the arc and somehow it felt like the Rams were fortunate to be in the game. I tweeted:

There was a feeling that if CSU could figure out a way to slow down the Bears from beyond the arc, the game would be theirs.

But Bodie Hume, Bears senior forward and the pride of Sterling, CO, would have none of that nonsense as he singlehandedly launched his team to a 13-point lead, making four straight three’s in the first 5 minutes of the half. The Bears led 55-42 and it was time for the Rams to go to work.

First David Roddy stepped up as be powered his way inside. Roddy had a tough night as he was the central focus of the Bears defensive plan but he brought his unique combination of speed and power to the forefront and got the Rams kickstarted.

First half scoring heroes Thomas and Lake were replaced in the second half by John Tonje and Chandler Jacobs and the Rams began the long climb back. A steal and and-1 by Jacobs cut the deficit to 5 but the Bears countered with a quick 7-0 run which featured, you guessed it, a three-ball by Hume and it was back to a 12-point game.

Jacobs and Tonje continued their offensive magic and the Rams started to reel the Bears in. But it was going to have to happen on the defensive end to make it all the way back and Coach Niko Medved chose a small ball lineup of Isaiah Stevens, Kendle Moore, Tonje, Jacobs, and Roddy because of how they matched up. Jacobs on Hume, Tonje on Bears stud scorer Daylen Kountz, Moore on perimeter ace Kuxhausen, Stevens on the ball, and Roddy on the Bear’s big.

It was a lineup they would ride to the final buzzer. A Tonje three-ball gave the Rams their first lead of the second half at 76-75 and the teams traded baskets. With the Rams leading 78-77 and two minutes remaining, anybody who has been around the team knew what time it was.

Thats right.

Isaiah Stevens time.

The consummate closer.

Stevens was having a solid but not spectacular game to that point but now it was his time to shine. A short jumper, a FT, an and-1. And with the Rams locking down on the defensive end the margin was all of a sudden 7 and the Rams were home free. More free throws by Moore and Stevens put the finishing gloss on the comeback victory.

Roddy would finish with another double-double even with all of his struggles. Stevens with 20 and 6 assists. But it was the aforementioned combination of Lake, Jacobs, and Tonje who delivered the goods off the bench. Tonje ended with 20, Jacobs 9, and Lake 8 on the scoresheet but ultimately it was the defensive work of Tonje and Jacobs on Kountz and Hume down the stretch that was paramount to the Rams success.

Hume and Kountz would combine for 49 of the Bears’ 79 points. Hume looked to be on the way toward breaking the all-time Moby record of 10 3’s as he had 9 with 10 minutes remaining. Former CU Buff Kountz would score 19 on a variety of shots inside and out (the proverbial three level scorer) and dish 5 assists as well. Both are headed toward All Big Sky honors at season’s end and I’ll go so far as to suggest that Kountz will be recognized as Player of the Year. He’s good.

But the work of those two wasnt enough, as the defensive grit and relentless offensive execution of the Rams bubbled to the surface.

7-0.

What are the Odds of Overcoming a Team that Makes 18 Three’s?

After the game, I asked Assistant Brian Cooley if he could recall a game where his team was able to overcome 18 makes from beyond the arc. He thought briefly and said he couldnt.

So my curious mind decided to do some research on games so far this season. There are countless games where D-1 teams hosted weaker NAIA and D-2 squads and I decided to filter them out. So here’s the games between D-1 opponents and the outcomes.

TeamOpponentMade Three’sOutcome
Colorado StateCreighton2095-81
IowaAlabama State20108-81
Loyola (IL)Coppin State20103-45
CitadelDuke1881-107
ColgateSyracuse18100-85
South Dakota StNevada17102-75

As you can see, most of the games where a team rains in a bunch of three’s end up as blowouts in their favor. Only Citadel lost.

Seems like it takes the name Duke on the front of the jersey to overcome a barrage of three’s.

Or Colorado State.

Dorian Green’s (Near) Triumphant Return to Moby

The Former CSU great was back in Moby, this time on the sidelines as an assistant coach for the UNC Bears. I wont go into all of where he stand in CSU’s All-Time Top 10 lists but, needless to say, he appears in every one of them.

It was always a dream to play point guard at a high level but, alas, my skill, speed, and inablitiy to guard my own shadow prevented me. I admire the qualities of Dorian and Isaiah Stevens. Both were kind enough to stick around and let me get a picture of two of the best point guards and closers of the last 20 years.

Dorian Part II

On my way over to track down Dorian post-game, I ran into none other that Darryl Green, Dorian’s dad. It felt like a bit of a homecoming. All that was needed were the Eikmeier’s, the Hornungs’s, etc.

We joked that that last time we were together was when we sat next to each other at the CSU-UNC game in Greeley way back in 2011. The famous ”Coach I’m on fire, I can’t miss game”. Thats what Dorian had announced to the staff during warmups and he proceeded to torch the Bears to the tune of 36 points which included 8-10 beyond the arc and a pair of 4-point plays. It was his career high in his four years at CSU.

And Finally…

The Rams have two games this week to conclude the three game homestand. Arkansas-Little Rock and Top 50 St. Mary’s.

Im hoping we see the energy in Moby from the fans that we saw for the UNC game. Crowd on its feet collectively urging the Rams to dig in on the defensive end. Roars at the other end for huge buckets. Rage at the officials for bad calls (that was me, sorry). It all makes for a great expereince.

I watched the game with local talk show host Brady Hull, whose station is the Voice of the Bears. In case you arent aware, I’m doing a regular weekly Friday segment talking CSU hoops with him. AFter the game I told him I would bring him to ever game if he could guarantee a Ram win in close and exciting fashion. Blowouts aren’t anywhere near the fun of what we got to experience. (Sorry Niko – Im sure you prefer blowouts).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 28, 2021 4:29 pm

    Might have to give up the Coloradan, DP and the Athletic if you keep writing stories like this. Simply one fine piece of work.

    • November 28, 2021 4:38 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Rich. I subscribe to the Coloradoan because I thinkKevin does some really great stuff.

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