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Rams Pummel Gamecocks 85-52 in Charleston Classic

November 18, 2022

Connected, precise, relentless.

And ruthless.

For 40 minutes they stayed true to their principles of sharing the ball and loving the paint of the offensive end. And true to their principles of structure and organization on the defensive side. The result was a blowout of an SEC opponent of completely unexpected proportions.

The Rams began crisply by attacking the rim. According to Coach Niko Medved , “We wanted to make a big emphasis on staying on the attack. Paint touches lead to better shots.”. They showed this mentality right from the jump when John Tonje outran them for a thunderous dunk after the Cocks first bucket ( South Carolina’s only lead of the game lasted an entire 6 seconds).

At the under 12 minute timeout, the Rams led 14-12. And then, much like the previous game, they went on an extended run to establish a huge halftime lead. In the previous game against Weber State, the run was 28-6. In this game, it was 26-7.

It started on the defensive end as the Rams forced their opponents into difficult shots which resulted in 25% shooting for the half. They minimized the number of scoring opportunities by forcing 10 turnovers, a whopping 28.6% of South Carolina’s possessions. And the Rams finished their defensive work on the glass, rebounding 17 out of 22 opportunities. In their previous game with Clemson, the Cocks had garnered 45% of their offensive rebound chances; tonight it was half of that at 23%.

On the offensive end, they moved the ball quickly but played with patience and discipline as they exploited the Gamecocks interior defense. It was led by bigs James Moors and Patrick Cartier but, to be honest, the scoring was coming from everybody. There were dunks, there were uncontested layups. None better than the final attack of the half that featured a pick and pop opportunity at the top of the key between Tavi Jackson and Isaiah Rivera. South Carolina guarded Rivera had, Jackson penetrated into the paint, passed through the help defense to a wide open Moors who delivered a two-handed flush.

The lead was 40-19. The Rams had shot 59%. They had a whopping 30 points in the paint!

Closing out the Weber game earlier in the week in the second half was pretty much a formality at home, but tournament games are different animals. And when South Carolina opened the second half by making 4 consecutive three-balls, the Rams halftime lead had shrunk to 48-34.

A quick timeout, a simple discussion about what had got them to the lead, and off the Rams went on an extended run of 23-4 over the next nine minutes to lead 71-38. It was only then that the rest of the game became a formality which the Rams killed off professionally. One late play of note was the Rams slicing and dicing the Cocks zone defense with some tiki taka passing between Tavi, Cartier, and finally Joe Palmer for an uncontested layup.

James Moors led the way for the Rams with a career high 24 points and 9 rebounds. Tonje had 14, Isaiah Rivera and Pat Cartier had 12. And point guards Baylor Hebb and Tavi tag-teamed their way to a classy combined 9 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists, against only 3 turnovers.

A win for the ages. An effort that earned them a chance to do it all over the next day.

Other Stuff

Swoll Man of the Match – James Moors. Duh. I already shared his outstanding numbers. But also worth noting is how adept James has become handling the ball at the top of the key, dribbling into handoffs, setting screens. CSU’s offense has characteristics of a Princeton offense and requires a big who can do exactly that. He’s also rolling to the rim effectively,and making uncontested three balls as well. Honorable mention to Isaiah Rivera who shot 5-7 from the floor and was a team high +29 in his 28 minutes on the floor.

What About Pat? – On top of Moors’ performance, Patrick Cartier threw down another master class on inside scoring. The D-2 All American transfer is as crafty as it comes when finishing at or near the rim with either hand. 5-6 from the field and 4 trips to the free throw line as well. Cartier and Moors delivered 36 points and 10 rebounds in their combined 37 minutes on the floor. What a tandem they are becoming!

And Then There’s GG – GG Jackson is a 5-star freshman who plays for South Carolina. He was considered the top player in the 2023 class until he reclassified to 2022. Most likely a one-and-done. Yes he’s talented. But he’s also petulant and selfish, demanding his teammates get him the ball. I never see CSU players demand the ball. I prefer team play where every player touches the ball and contributes. Where a player turns down a good shot to get his teammate a better shot. Sure GG finished with a strong 20 points and 7 rebounds. He also finished with a team high -32 in his 31 minutes. He’s got a lot to learn. Especially that combined team talent easily overcomes individual talons.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rich Feller permalink
    November 18, 2022 1:41 pm

    Dang… this is good writing…as sweet as James Moors’ smile after another quiet, unselfish move under the basket. I’m an early riser saying thanks for a great start to the day…

    • November 18, 2022 1:44 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. Cant wait to get back to Fort Collins. Current plans have us in Salt Lake City until after Thanksgiving

      • Rich Feller permalink
        November 18, 2022 2:19 pm

        Thank goodness for TV… can’t say that about print media… another reason your words are so fine… be well

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