Throughout his college basketball career, Kendall Williams has taken his share of ownership of Moby Arena.
The relationship between the New Mexico guard and the Fort Collins hardwood floor has always been something sweet, and on Saturday the two parted ways for the final time after capping it off with one more special go-round.
Williams thrives when playing on the road against CSU. Always has, always will.
In just four trips to Moby, he’s squeezed 101 points out of the Rams — 23 of them tallied in Saturday’s contest that lifted the Lobos past the Rams 68-66 in the game’s final minute. But his impact is in more than just the numbers.
In every game we’ve seen Williams play CSU, he’s taken the weight of the team and willfully placed it on his own back, just as his role on the New Mexico roster calls for. If you’ve lost track, now it’s four times he’s walked through the McGraw Center doors, four times he’s left as his team’s leading scorer.
“He’s a pro,” Colorado State head coach Larry Eustachy said in the postgame press conference. “Williams is a pro. I mean, he was MVP of his team in the league over the guy that’s in the NBA now (Tony Snell, Chicago Bulls). So if he’s a pro, that guy’s a pro. We got beat by some very good players.”
And what the Rams got beat by was a 20 minute performance from Williams.
Out of character, Williams couldn’t connect throughout the entire first half on Saturday afternoon. He could only get two of his nine first-half shot attempts to drop. He watched all four of his jumpers from behind the arch strike the rim and bounce away, sending him to the locker room with a measly four points to speak of by halftime.
Then that’s when it happened — the Williams who we’ve known since Feb. 12, 2011, the day of his first appearance in Moby, decided to finally show up.
It was almost as if he remembered he was in the same atmosphere that he lit up 11 months ago for a Mountain West record 46 single game points because he returned from the break a whole different animal.
Williams got to work doing what he does best — knocking down the three, and doing it often.
He lined up on the 3-point line six times in the second half and all but one attempt found the swish of the nylon net. Every hit was a worse blow to the CSU defense than the last, which the Rams relied heavily on to keep them in a game that came down to the wire.
“He’s a good player, he just stepped up and made some shots,” CSU guard Daniel Bejarano said.
On Saturday, Williams did what he does best — making Colorado State look helpless in its own house. It’s a shame to think that Williams will never again step foot inside a Moby Arena that’s treated him so well over the years.
End of an era.
Collegian Sports Editor Quentin Sickafoose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @QSickafoose.