CTV Sports anchors Keith Albertson and Steven Starcer recap the Rams ugly game against the #15 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Video by Keith Albertson and Steven Starcer.
No. 15 Gonzaga handles CSU basketball 93-61
SPOKANE, Wash. — Only eight teams have walked out of The Kennel in Spokane, Washington as victors against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. CSU tried to become ninth on the list Monday night, but failed as it suffered a defeat of 93-61.
“Obviously we were no match for Gonzaga, they’re a top-15 team for a reason,” head coach Larry Eustachy said. “They manhandled us.”
The pressure that was placed on the Rams going into Monday night’s game against No. 15 ranked Gonzaga was apparent from tipoff and continued until the Rams ultimately were taken care of by Gonzaga on the road; an environment that has proven to be lethal to anyone who enters.
From the moment the Bulldogs walked on the court, the sold-out 6,000 capacity arena never took a moment to take a breath from the constant cheering, yelling, chanting and stomping. The ground in Spokane was shaking from the student body which acts a sixth man for the Gonzaga basketball team.
Pitted against a team who is 121-8 on their home court since 2004 and competing with one of the most passionate crowds in the country were just a few of the many challenges the Rams faced on Monday night.
The Rams offense never got itself going throughout the entire 40 minutes of regulation, ending the night 32 percent from the field and 29 percent from three-point range.
One player who had offensive rhythm on Monday was starting guard Jon Octeus.
“Jon was helping us out there for a while and he was doing his thing and that wasn’t enough. He didn’t get much help,” guard Daniel Bejarano said.
Octeus had 27 of the Rams 61 points on the night and he nearly managed to outscore all of his teammates combined.
“I just knew that my team needed a spark,” Octeus said.
However, while the Rams were constantly battling a barrier of getting into their rhythm, the Bulldogs were getting looks around the perimeter on virtually every possession they had and were able to hit the majority of them.
Every single player on the Bulldogs roster, with the exception of one, put points on the board in their matchup against CSU. The one player who didn’t score was recovering from oral surgery and did not play.
The Bulldogs were unstoppable from the perimeter, one of the many weaknesses CSU’s defense has consistently shown in their handful of exhibition and regular season games. In addition to shooting 57-percent from the field, they shot a solid 45 percent from three-point range.
Gonzaga ended the night with 14 shots from behind the arch, eight of them coming from junior guard Gary Bell.
At the end of the night, the Rams just looked frustrated; not with their teammates but with themselves. The team is in complete rebuilding mode and is trying to replace an entire starting lineup that gave the Rams a run in the NCAA tournament last season.
“What surprised us are the things that we do best are the things we lacked in the most, which is rebounding, getting at loose balls playing hard defensively,” Octeus said. “We gave up 90, almost 100 points tonight so we just need to focus on what we do best and I think everything else will take care of itself. “
CSU faced an electric environment in Spokane. The combination of Gonzaga’s student section, the hype of a nationally televised game and squaring off with a top-20 team ultimately proved to be too much.
“It’s sad and embarrassing and we can’t keep it in our head,” said Bejarano. “We just have to move on.”
Basketball reporter Hannah Cornish can be reached at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @hmcornish