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Buffs Thrash Rams 93-65, Second Consecutive Rivalry Loss

December 9, 2022

Coming off a low effort rivalry loss on Saturday to the hands of Northern Colorado, the Colorado State Rams had an immediate opportunity to respond, facing rival Colorado for the first time in 3 years.

But it wasn’t to be as the Mighty Buffs ran, rebounded, and dunked their way in devastating fashion, delivering the widest margin in recent memory over a reeling Ram team.

The game opened well when CSU’s John Tonje stole a cross court pass and dunked at the other end. The Buffs countered and blew our to a 10-5 lead. The Rams countered to forge a lead at 15-14. Back and forth the teams went and it was tied 28-28 inside of 4 minutes. But the Buffs closed on a 10-2 run, and headed into the room with a 38-30 lead.

And when they opened the second half with a pair of defensive blocks leading to an easy 2 and wide open 3, the Buffs were on their way. The lead grew. And grew. And grew. The Buffs were scoring inside and out, led by sophomore guard KJ Simpson and senior forward Tristan Da Silva. The Buffs stampeded their way to 55 second half points and they had delivered a famous rivalry win to their largest crowd to date.

Simpson would finish with 27 and Da Silva with 15. Colorado natives Nique Clifford and Luke O’Brien joined them in double figures with 13 and 11 respectively. A pair of Rams finished in double figures. Isaiah Stevens with 15 and Tavi Jackson with 10.

The devastation was fueled a by a whopping 42-23 Buff advantage on the glass leading to 18 second chance points and a whopping 54-24 advantage in paint scoring. The home team forced 13 turnovers with their aggressive trapping which led to 20 points, many of which were uncontested dunks.

It would feel like the worst loss since Niko Medved took over the program in 2018. A team on an upward trajectory since a throwaway inaugural campaign is now in crisis. Two straight games of getting pounded on the glass. Two straight games with second half defensive meltdowns.

And with a pair of difficult games upcoming vs St Mary’s and USC, they have been backed into the proverbial corner.

Fight or Flight?

We shall see.

Other Stuff

Swoll Man of the Match – A no brainer to me. Freshman Tavi Jackson who played with the poise of a senior and the toughness required to win a road game in front of a hostile crowd. 4-6 shooting from the field, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 0 TURNOVERS! An overall Offensive Efficiency rating of 148 which was easily the best of any Ram. But it was his desire to mix it up in the paint that really made him stand out. He was a freshman playing like an upperclassmen.

As for the upperclassmen…

It’s Hard to Win a Road Game When Your Upperclassmen Play like Freshmen – There’s no need to call them out individually. Collectively, the Rams upperclassmen were soft over the 94’. Repeatedly knocked to the ground when driving to the glass or getting double-teamed. Missing layups because of taking angles to the rim that avoided contact. I always find it beautiful watching a herd of deer running in the wild. I don’t enjoy seeing deer facing headlights.

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