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Rams Tame ’Dogs 65-50

February 12, 2022

In front of an energetic Friday night sellout crowd, the CSU Rams delivered one of their better performances of the season as they smashed the Top 60 Bulldogs.

It was never going to be easy as the Bulldogs are a nationally ranked defensive team led by MWC Player of the Year candidate Orlando Robinson Jr.

Robinson is an NBA-level big who showed early why he is the focus of every opponent’s game plan as he was responsible for 16 of the Bulldogs 28 first-half points, scoring at will both inside and out. He was winning some very physical battles with CSU bigs Dischon Thomas and James Moors.

In the meantime, the Rams were struggling to find any kind of offensive consistency. They had jumped to an early 15-8 lead before going scoreless for over 5 minutes, allowing the visitors to jump back in the game. A late first-half surge pushed the Bulldogs lead to as many as 6 before they headed to the locker room leading 28-25.

The Rams were being outshot from everywhere on the floor and even the free throw line. They were being out-rebounded. The defensive effort was there but they lacked any kind of edge offensively as the ball movement was sluggish and some of the decision-making in transition was poor.

And then the second half began and it was obvious the Rams were ready to kick it up a notch. David Roddy had been the only first-half constant and the Rams needed to get others more involved.

John Tonje post-game

The person chosen was John Tonje. The Rams ran a play for Tonje who backed down a defender before scoring a 12-foot jumper. A simple play call that turned out to be the catalyst that launched the Rams to a near-perfect second half.

When Tonje followed shortly after with a three-ball from the corner off a feed from Isaiah Stevens, the Rams were back in the lead at 32-30 and it was a lead they would never relinquish.

And clearly it was time for the David Roddy Show. The 6’6”, 255 lb. junior, playing with great confidence and freedom, killed the Bulldogs as he iso-ed up defenders on the left wing and either finished at the rim or shredded the double-teams with passes to James Moors for easy layups.

David Roddy post-game; the smile of a winner.

Defensively, the Rams were all over the Bulldogs, limiting their scoring to mostly putbacks on the offensive glass.

Midway through the second half, the Rams made the second big decision as they switched from their sticky man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone. Or was it a match-up zone? Or was it a hybrid 1-3-1?

The Rams’ zone mastermind is Assistant Coach Ali Farokhmanesh. Post-game he described it as kind of a 2-3, kind of a match-up zone, kind of a fluid defense. Whatever it was, it worked as the Bulldogs struggled to find any kind of clean shots.

Misses on one end, enough makes on the other as Isaiah Stevens got heavily involved in rim attacks and the Rams were swimming with a double-digit lead that they would protect effectively over the final minutes.

David Roddy would finish with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists. Isaiah Stevens had a very understated 14 with 3 assists. Tonje would finish with 10 second half points and Moors would finish with 11. Robinson would finish with 24 points and 8 rebounds for the visitors.

But it was team execution, spurred by a couple of simple coaching decisions, that led to the victory.

Check these second-half numbers out!

40-22 on the scoreboard.

12 assists against 0 turnovers! Are you kidding me?

58.6% shooting against a team with a stout defense! Only 27.8% shooting for the opponents.

In the process, the Rams handed the Bulldogs their largest defeat of the season. They held the Bulldogs to a season low offensive efficiency rate while scoring at the second highest level the Bulldogs have experienced.

8000+ went home happy for good reason.

More Dog Stuff…

I posted this on Twitter earlier in the week:

Well, today is the day we bring our puppy home. In terms of a name, he will be named after a current CSU player. We had hoped to do the name reveal at a CSU practice but thats not practical for a variety of reasons.

Instead, we will do the name reveal on Monday February 14th during my segment on The Brady Hull Show on 1310 KFKA. I hope you’ll join us.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jan Carpenter permalink
    February 13, 2022 12:52 am

    Tonje. He is a smooth operator who is faithful and poised.

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