Rams have split season series with Rebels

The Rams fell in a battle on Tuesday night, 83-71, due to the 3-point barrage the Rebels unleashed upon them.


Rams’ John Tonje and Rebels’ Elijah Parquet battle for score. Photograph: A. Coates, Rocky Mountain Collegian

Austen Mayers, KCSU Sports

The night started with great promise, with faithfully celebrated CSU senior guard Isaiah Stevens breaking the all-time assist record for the Rams. The Rams entered the evening hoping to end a 2-game skid after losing in back-to-back games. The last win for CSU was against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels in overtime. On Tuesday, Moby madness would be unlocked, with the fans doing all they could to try to achieve a season sweep over a 14-7 UNLV team.

In the beginning of the game, it was imminent that the crowd’s energy was encouraging the players on both teams, resulting in extreme defensive intensity for both sides. The first minute was scoreless until CSU guard Isaiah Rivera would break the ice by hitting two free throws to open the game after a foul by UNLV’s Elijah Harkless. Throughout the game, the two teams had varying approaches to offense as the Rams tried to get to the rim more and the Rebels shot a lot of three-pointers.

Living by the three can be risky, but in this game, it worked for the Rebels. They would hit 40.7% of their three point attempts. Their three-point shot-making caused Rams coach Niko Medved to burn a quick timeout after the Rebels hit four three-pointers in the first nine minutes of play. Medved adjusted by encouraging harder closeouts on three-point shots and relying on less players to protect the paint.

This caused an adjustment period for the Rebels due to the quick closeouts by the Rams’ defense. Eventually, both teams would find loose spots in their opponents’ armor as each team’s playmaking would shine through as the game went on. Stevens, while being double teamed, showcased his superb passing ability with an impressive bounce pass from the top of the three-point line to the cutting Rivera for a layup.

The rams would start to bully back into the game with strong post moves featuring some classic drop-steps until the Rebels would keep them at bay again with their three-point and midrange shot-making. The Rebels were dominating the game by 21 points with five minutes left. At this time, the Rams implemented an effective press that caused numerous turnovers through trapping the ball. This helped bring the deficit to 12, where they would fall 83-71.

After a loss to Utah State and a victory against Air Force Academy, the Rams are now 11-14 on the season and will host 18-6 Boise State on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. Could it be the upset they need to help get back on the right track?

More information on CSU Men’s Basketball can be found here.