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Rams split the week at home with a disappointing 64-61 loss to the Saint Marys Gaels

FORT COLLINS, CO- “I challenge you to find another game where Isaiah (Stevens) has 6 turnovers”
Photo by Ava Puglisi (The Collegian)

That was the message from an optimistic Coach Niko Medved on his star player’s rough night after the Rams fell to the Saint Mary Gaels 64-61 at home in a game that the Rams trailed a majority of and saw star point guard Isaiah Stevens turn the ball over well over his average 2.3 on the season coming into the game.

The Rams dropped in the AP polls after the loss from 13 to 17th, helped out by some of there best wins against Washington and Colorado looking better with the pair taking down No. 7 Gonzaga and No. 15 Miami, respectively.

After a back and forth game on Wednesday against the Denver Pioneers, the Rams started off much the same against the Saint Mary Gaels, streaking to a hot 8-0 start before going cold for nearly 9 minutes only scoring 2 points and allowing the Gaels to go up 19-10.

The Rams would bring the game back within reach on the backs of Joe Palmer and Nique Clifford, combining for 16 points and momentum shifting buckets like a nice and one made shot by Joe Palmer to bring the score to 21-26

Nique Clifford closed the gap with a wide open three to put the score at 26-27. The game would remain fairly tight going into the half, 32-33 Gaels.

CSU could not shake their slow start sickness, as they came out of the half looking lackluster once again, allowing the Gaels to have a 40-46 lead through the first ten minutes, going 0-3 from deep. Much of the same offensive struggles showed once again against a Gaels team strong on the defensive side of the ball, averaging holding their opponents to just 60.6 points a game.

The Rams turned it on in crunch time finding their rhythm more through Patrick Cartier, Clifford, and of course Stevens. Cartier kept the team afloat with eight early points, and everyone else picked it up, fueled by the Gael’s top scorer, Augustus Marciulionis with 18 points, fouling out with four minutes left in the second half.

This would allow the Rams to go on a 9 point scoring run, all in two and a half minutes, tying the score at 55-55 with two and a half minutes left in the game.

The Rams and Gaels traded scores, however a key Isaiah Stevens turnover paired with clutch free throws and jumpers from the Gaels kept them ahead for the rest of the night.

The Rams had two shots from Stevens and Clifford at the end to try and tie the game to send it to overtime, however neither fell and the Rams picked up their first loss of the season.

Stevens and Coach Medved in the postgame liked the shot Clifford took to end the game, just didn’t fall for the Rams today. Medved expanded further on that saying, “Some of them (turnovers) were just uncharacteristic, you know? He just came off had a guy wide open and just gave them credit they just deflected it…got there fingernail on it if they don’t we get a layup…”

The loss to the Gaels is a tough one as it ends the Rams undefeated season, however as most college basketball fans know going undefeated in a season is incredibly difficult to do, as Medved highlighted they weren’t expecting to be the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers, the only team to ever do it, and weren’t too focused on that loss taking that away from them.

Isaiah Stevens finished with 20 points on the night, bringing his season average to 17.5. Despite a tough night on the turnover side of things, Medved highlighted at the end of the presser, “If there’s one guy that I am not worried about, it’s Isaiah Stevens.”

Isaiah Stevens and the Rams will look to bounce back Saturday December 17th, 4 p.m at home against the Colorado State Pueblo Thunderwolves, and continue their dominant season.