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Rams Move to 3-0 With 77-52 Thrashing of Weber State

November 15, 2022

First of all, there will be no “Weber is not a state” jokes from me. And I will refer to them by the proper nickname Wildcats rather than the Grills. Because they are a solid smaller program that deserves respect. Numerous Big Sky Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances. Home to current MBA great Dame Lillard.

And while they are breaking in a new head coach, they returned all Big Sky forward Dillon Jones, a David Roddy lite at 6’6” and 235 pounds. They added transfers from solid programs such as San Diego State, Fresno State, Southern Illinois, and Tennessee. A dangerous opponent for sure.

Dangerous enough to Coach Niko Medved that he shared post-game that he was “worried about this game”.

The Rams jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, then came with their customary slew of turnovers that allowed the Wildcats to gain their first lead at 9-8.

But these turnovers were of a bit of a different variety. Many were forced by Weber as they forced Ram penetrators to spin and then threw multiple defenders at them in the paint. The under 12 timeout came and went and the Rams came out with a new sense of purpose.

They had started effectively on the defensive end and now they ratcheted their effort up a notch. At the same time, the found the proper pace to execute their halfcourt offense and their drives became more straighline to the rim.

First a 7-0 run, ended by a Wildcat free throw. Then an 8-0 run ended by a Wildcat 3-ball. Then a 13-2 run over the final minutes. In the end, the Rams had gone on a 12-minute 28-6 run and finished the half leading 36-15.

And it was Ram basketball at its best. Defensively, they were stopping Weber’s high screen action and forcing them into difficult shots. The guards and the bigs were communicating, dropping into proper spots, and Weber could not get near the rim. The Rams would hold the visitors to 20% shooting and force 10 turnovers.

On the offensive side, the Rams had unleashed their inside and outside attack. They shot just under 50% but were 7-14 from beyond the arc. And most importantly, they ended the half with only 6 turnovers. N9 turnovers in the final 12 minutes.

The second half was a formality as the Rams went to their bench generously and still built the lead to as big as 29. Near the 10 minute mark, the Rams had a lineup of two freshmen, two sophomores, and one D-3 transfer.

The Rams would end up shooting 53% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. They won the scoring battle in the paint to the tune 36-12. They won the points off turnovers battle 23-9. Final stats had Weber at 34% from the field including 21% from beyond the arc.

Nine players would play at least 15 minutes and the tenth played 9 minutes. In the end, the Rams were too much for the visitors. And not because the depth wore them out. It was because the quality off the bench was so good.

It was a perfect way to end the season opening three-game homestand.

Other Stuff

Swoll’s Man of the Match – If you know me at all, you know that I follow the English Premier League very closely. At the end of a match, the player voted by the media to have Ben the best player is named Man of the Match and handed a bottle of champagne. There will be no champagne from me. Just my opinion of who. In this game there were a ton of candidates. But I’m going with Tavi Jackson, the freshman point guard who is showing amazing maturity so early in his career. Tavi would finish the game with 14 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals against only 1 turnover. John Tonje and Jalen Lake Waldo came under heavy consideration.Tonje’s defensive effort on Webers Dillon Jones was fantastic. I asked Coach Medved if having to practice against Roddy last season helped John with his assignment and Niko responded “It definitely didn’t hurt!”

Speaking of Futbol – I saw a Twitter suggestion from my buddy Mike Rowe after the game. He was suggesting that CSU figure out a way to market Tavi’s #2 jersey with just t(e name Tavi on it. Not his last name Jackson. It would be an unbelievable NIL opportunity.

The Young and The Restless – As I mentioned earlier, CSU fielded a young and inexperienced lineup midway through the second half that went head to head with Many of Webers starters. Freshmen Tavi Jackson and Kyle Evans, sophomores Baylor Hebb and Jalen Lake, and senior transfer Joe Palmer. And there was no better example of the quality of this group than a play that began with a high screen by Evans with a dump off to him as he rolled into the paint. Rather than stumbling out of control, Evans gathered and fired a pass to Lake, who then passed to Palmer who buried the three-ball. What a play! Yes Lake, Jackson, and Hebb get minutes. But Evans and Palmer and players 10 and 11 on this squad and they made a play that would make the starters blush.

Evans’ Almighty – For the record, let it be known that freshman big Kyle Evans scored 5 points along with 2 rebounds and 2 assists. He finished nicely at the rim but his best quality is his vision and passing ability. He’s a perfect fit for the CSU offense that asks their bigs to be able distributors from the top of the key.

Strong Man – Ram fans have been anxiously looking forward to the debut of Senior transfer Josiah Strong. Strong has had health issues that have kept him out of practice until recently. In the short term his minutes will probably be limited until his conditioning improves. But what a debut it was! A first half that included 3-3 shooting including 2-2 from beyond the arc in only 8 minutes. A steal, a charge drawn on the defensive end. All 9f the feedback I (ave heard from people Outside the program rave about his defensive ability. Along with a 42% make rate from beyond the arc in high volume. How about this chemistry between he and Tavi!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Jan Carpenter permalink
    November 18, 2022 1:42 am

    I enjoy your insight into these games, Swoll. You always point out something I failed to realize.

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