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Seniors Go Out With a Win at Moby Arena Versus Wyoming Cowboys

Fort Collins, CO – A much needed win comes at just the right time as Isaiah Stevens and Co. are honored pregame
Max Ebert
Isaiah Stevens is honored pregame at halfcourt

Coming into the game, the Rams were riding a three-game losing streak including two close heartbreaker finishes in the wild Mountain West. It fueled the Rams to a hard-fought victory against their rival, the Wyoming Cowboys, in a 70-62 Border War win.

The Rams’ five seniors this year, Joel Scott, Josiah Strong, Joe Palmer, Patrick Cartier, and Isaiah Stevens, were all honored pregame in an amazing ceremony commemorating the impacts the five made on and off the court to the Ram basketball community.

The ceremony set the tone for the rest of the game in a gritty, hard-fought win highlighted by Joel Scott’s 20-point performance. It tied his season-high set against the University of Northern Colorado earlier in the season.

Scott dominated when others couldn’t, scoring 15 in the second half with Patrick Cartier having the next most at eight points. His performance was the difference maker in an otherwise close defensive game between the Rams and Cowboys.

“He’s been a bulldog for us here, really all season, that’s just who he’s been…He just brings a ton of toughness and competitiveness to this group and I thought he was terrific today,” said Coach Niko Medved of Scott’s efforts down in the paint and his physicalness to get those much-needed paint points.

The rest of the Rams starters as a whole had solid games. Patrick Cartier had 15 points, Isaiah Stevens had 12, and Nique Clifford had 10 points and 10 boards for another double-double on the season. The combined effort of the starters helped the Rams to a win, but it was not the Rams offense solely that led to the big win in Moby.

The Rams defense tonight held the Cowboys to just 26.3% shooting beyond the arc. The Cowboys had a Mountain West-best 36.8% in three-point shooting percentage before the night. The Rams’ tough perimeter defense highlighted a stellar 40-minute performance of total defense on the court.

“We did a good job, especially today, of getting to their shooters, making it difficult on them, again I think this team has played good defense here all-conference,” said Medved on the efforts the Rams had on the perimeter. Medved would of course like to see some better defense, especially off the dribble, but has been impressed by their efforts all season.

The Rams bench had a great performance as well with a +/- performance of +18 in the first half and overall solid games from Rashaan Mbemba, Tavi Jackson, and Kyan Evans.

The Rams also held up on the rebound side of the game, beating Wyoming 42-34 on the boards and limiting Cam Manyawu’s impact through the strong performance.

The game marks the final game in Moby Arena for the seniors going out on a win, with the most notable being Isaiah Stevens. The Ram’s all-time leading scorer and assist leader would go out on top with a win and a heartwarming after-game recognition with thousands of “Thank you #4” posters being held up as he was recognized at half court.

“(Asked if he noticed the posters before the game ended) I didn’t notice till after…that’s when I started looking around and noticing it, that was actually really cool,” said Isaiah Stevens when reflecting on the ceremony and his career, “I’m just one blessed individual, none of this is on my own doing, I’m just truly thankful that I have had coaches, family, teammates that have believed in me, and I will give myself a little bit of credit, I have put a lot of work in too so I’ll take a lot of credit for that part right there.”

Isaiah Stevens will go down as one of the greatest to ever do it in Moby Arena, and it will be interesting to see the conversations continue to be had about retiring his number in Moby. One can only hope that the University will give him that honor as a faithful steward of the Ram brand and living in the Ram way.

The Rams could finish the season 10-8 depending on a win against the Air Force Falcons. Ram fans also will pay attention to the University of New Mexico’s wins or losses over the next two games, as it will affect the finish of the Rams in the standings as either a sixth or seventh seed in the Mountain West heading into the tournament.

The Rams will look to end their regular season with a win as they travel to Colorado Springs to take on the Air Force Falcons on 3/9 at 2 P.M.