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Rams Ride Second Half Surge to 115-72 Blowout Over Peru State

December 12, 2022

After leading 53-47 at the half, the Colorado State Rams came out with more purpose over the 94’, outscoring their opponent 62-25 in the second stanza to win going away over their game but outmatched opponents.

The Rams had shot a remarkable 71% in the first half but only led by 6 as the recent trend of poor defensive effort continued to haunt them. Poor on-ball defense, poor and sometimes unnecessary switching, poor rotations while chasing the ball led to the visitors shooting HORSE shots on the perimeter of which they made a remarkable 11-16 to stay in contact.

The Rams ratcheted up the ball pressure to begin the second half and the payout came immediately in the form of a 14-2 run over the first four minutes that built the lead to 67-49. The game lost its competitiveness but the Rams stayed the course, defending properly, running their offense crisply whether in transition or in the halfcourt.

Isaiah Stevens led the way with 24 points and 10 assists, another double-double notch in his belt. Five other Rams would finish in double figures. John Tonje with 19, including 5-5 from beyond the arc. Patrick Cartier, Isaiah Rivera, and James Moors with 12 each, and Baylor Hebb with a career high 10, many of which came late.

The Rams’ offensive numbers were staggering. 70% shooting from the field including 15-25 from beyond the arc. A 35-22 rebounding advantage. And 35 assists on 44 made baskets, a remarkable 79%!

After a tough pair of losses, the hope is that this game will be just what the doctor ordered as the Rams enter a tough three game stretch against Saint Mary’s, USC, and New Mexico.

We shall see.

Other Stuff

Swoll Man of the Match – Senior point guard Isaiah Stevens. 5-5 for two-point range, 4-6 from beyond the arc, 2-2 from the free throw line. Ten assists, many out of ball screens leading to easy layups. Three rebounds and two steals. ZERO TURNOVERS! A Offensive Efficiency Rating of 210 overall.

New Starting Lineup Unveiled – In were Tavi Jackson and Cartier, out were Moors and Rivera. Stevens, Tonje, and Lake remained. And to be honest, the reviews were mixed. The five worked well offensively but opened the game poorly on the defensive end, setting the tone for a poor first half. They trailed 12-8 when the first subs were made at the 17:00 mark and 17-14 when the second round of subs were made at the 14:00 mark. To the starting five’s credit, they were the same unit that blew the game open with that early 14-2 run to begin the second half.

I Guess I’m An Old School Fuddy Duddy – I appreciate much of the modern game, but I guess I prefer old school fundamentals. Simple things should never be taken for granted. Like a bounce pass from guard to big for a layup on a classic screen and roll. So when I see stuff that is fundamentally poor, I go crazy. There were several plays vs Peru State that got me. Please don’t think I’m singling players out because everybody does these.

The first is a simple rebounding rule. ALWAYS PUT A BODY ON SOMEONE! So Jalen Lake closed out on a shooter in the corner. As soon as the ball was released, he turned and ran to the basket to get the ball. The ball careened over his head right to the shooter. Bad luck? NO! Bad fundamentals. Box the guy out, stay between basket and the man and the ball comes right to you. Sometimes you have to rebound in traffic. But the easiest rebounds come from simple box outs. And the easiest way to be physical with an opponent is with a proper box out. You’ll see fouls called on hard screens. You’ll see fouls called on proper hard contests at the rim. But you almost never see them called on boxouts.

Second, the classic 3 on 2 fast break. Ball with the player in the middle, two other players running the wings. Player with the ball tries to force one of the defenders to commit to him to set up a pass. If no commitment from a defender, pull up just inside the free throw line and shoot. Joe Palmer found himself in this perfect situation after a steal in the backcourt. Rather than pulling up and shooting, he overpenetrated and lost the ball. My gosh, we drilled those over and over in seventh grade

And finally, the 2 on 1 fastbreak. My generation played below the rim. We never thought of throwing a lob pass for a dunk. We learned how to space and create proper angles for an easy layup or simple bounce pass to get the second player a layup. The two Isaiah’s were in a perfect 2 on 1 situation. Stevens can score or get fouled 99% of the time in that situation. He chose the lob pass to Rivera, the timing was off and no basket was created. I get the part about exciting the crowd. I like dunks. I wish I could dunk. But the bottom line is that you can get away with that stuff against Peru State. You wont get away with that stuff against San Diego State. You need to take advantage of every opportunity. So do it right 100% of the time.

One final thought – I’m making a bold prediction. At some point in his CSU career, Tavi Jackson will get a triple double. His line for this game while playing a secondary role to Stevens- 8 points, 7 assists, 5 rebounds, 4 steals. And when it comes, it won’t feel forced or contrived. It will all come very naturally during the normal flow of the game. You’ll look up, see the stat board and there it will be.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 12, 2022 2:26 pm

    Just good good good good writing and analysis… first thing I want to read the day after a ram game. Many thanks as I’m so tired of the press and the spin we must live with and thru…

    • December 12, 2022 2:34 pm

      Thanks Rich. I was so disappointed in the first half defense yesterday. Some of these guys need to realize the Montain West is a war every game out. You play defense like they did in the first half and you’ll be down 20 with no way back in the second half.

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