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Rams Fall 74-64 in Charleston Classic Semi-Final

November 19, 2022

In a game played not with a bang but a whimper, the Colorado State Rams were soundly defeated by the home standing Charleston Cougars. It was not an expected result nor was it surprising as the inexperience of the Rams was exploited by the locals.

Both teams opened slowly and traded scores. Much as they had against the previous night against South Carolina, the Rams were scoring inside. Unlike the previous night, they were allowing their opponent to score from the perimeter and on putbacks or free throws. The score was tied at 20 when a careless turnover led to an easy Charleston bucket and the game got away from CSU at that point.

The home team exploited the Rams to build a 37-27 halftime lead which they immediately built to 48-33 early in the second half. Last years tourney victory in the Virgin Isalands featured a pair of comebacks including a 21 point deficit. So there was hope.

The Rams clawed back and when Pat Cartier scored a layup with seven minutes remaining they were within 62-55.

From there, the Rams played what was their worst four minute sequence of the young season. It was a sequence that begged for the leadership of an Isaiah Stevens who was on the bench in street clothes. It was a sequence that demanded the others to step up and respond. And no one did.

A Cartier miss, a Cartier turnover, a Tonje miss, a Strong miss, a Strong turnover, and finally a Jackson turnover to polish off a 4-minute scoreless streak where the Rams deficit increased to 11. To their credit, the Rams continued to fight but never got it closer than 6. The final buzzer sounded and the locals went home happy.

For,the game, the Rams had outshot their opponents to the tune of 46% to 37%. They outscored their opponents 46-24 in the paint. But they had given up too many second chances which led to a huge disparity at the free throw line. Charleston shot 25 free throws and the Rams shot 8. They made 22 and the Rams made 4.

Isaiah Rivera led the Rams with 15 points. No other Ram finished in double figures. Every Ram who played recorded a rebound. Seven of the nine who played recorded an assist. Those team together positives were offset by the fact that all nine players had turnovers.

When Isaiah Stevens went down prior to the season with a foot injury many reacted with a Sky is Falling, the season is over. That couldnt have been further from the truth for this talented but inexperienced squad. But at the same time, everyone knew that the possibility would exist, that eventually there will be a game where the skill, intelligence, and experience of Stevens would be heavily missed.

And this was that game.

And now we await the response in the 3rd place game against Penn State on Sunday. A game that could very well be a Quad 1 game with post season implications.

Other Stuff

Swoll Man of the Match – Has to be Isaiah Rivera who seemed to be the only Ram able and willing to consistently and successfully attack on the offensive end. Everyone else laid an egg.

The Free Throw Disparity – I wasn’t there and I always rely on my physical presence to assess the quality of officiating. On paper there’s a huge disparity. But I saw nothing on my TV to give me any kind of feeling that CSU got a bad whistle. The home team was simply more aggressive and earned those trips to the line. But… I do have a huge gripe about one call. A Charleston player was being closely guarded by Baylor Hebb and went with a head high rip through move with the ball. He led with an elbow and Hebb was sent to the floor. After viewing replay, the officials decided it was a normal basketball play. A HEAD HIGH RIP THROUGH WITH A LEADING ELBOW IS NOT A NORMAL BASKETBALL PLAY. IT IS A DIRTY PLAY THAT CAN CAUSE INJURY! The NCAA wastes time on these stupid flop rules and can’t figure out that they need to do something about stuff that can actually injure people. In the meantime, I hope Baylor is OK.

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