Tiel Daniels started it off by backing Nevada center AJ West all the way under the hoop for an easy two-footed layup.
Next were consecutive baskets from Joe De Ciman and Stanton Kidd. Then a 3-pointer by De Ciman and a layup from Carlton Hurst.
After that it was Daniel Bejarano driving through the right side of the lane for an uncontested finger roll.
And finally, it was back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers from Fred Richardson III, Bejarano and Gian Clavell. Before the Nevada men’s basketball team could even get its warmups off, the Wolf Pack trailed Colorado State 28-5 midway through the first half of Wednesday’s game at Moby Arena.
Just four days after scoring 92 points in a win at Air Force, the Rams torched Nevada to the tune of 55 first-half points en route to a 98-42 shellacking of the Wolf Pack.
“We saw against Air Force that when we had a big lead, we could just lose it like that,” sophomore guard John Gillon, who totaled six points and a career-high 11 assists, said. “We were saying that we were going to go out and step on them instead of letting them come back into the game. We just wanted to impose our will on them.”
Playing without star forward J.J. Avila, who was serving a one-game suspension for fighting, Colorado State, led by career nights from Clavell (21 points) and Richardson III (20), put on an offensive clinic for the 3,667 fans in attendance as the Rams moved to 16-2 overall and 3-2 in the Mountain West.
In one of the highest scoring first halves in Colorado State basketball history, the Rams connected on 54 percent of their shots, including 9 of 14 from behind the arc, and held Nevada to its lowest-scoring half of the season. The Wolf Pack (6-10, 2-2 MW), who shot an abysmal 5-for-30 from floor, racked up as many turnovers (12) as they did points.
“They (Colorado State) started off hot,” Nevada head coach David Carter said. “I was concerned about that when J.J. [Avila] was not going to play because we cannot defend against four guards the way they shoot the three. It didn’t help that we couldn’t get anything going offensively early.”
After consecutive games of shooting below 40 percent, CSU has caught fire over the past week, shooting well above 50 percent in its win at Air Force and Wednesday night against the Wolf Pack.
“You look great when you make shots,” CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said. “This is just one of those games that you can’t explain. We will probably have a game ahead of that goes the other way that we can’t explain. This is the kind of game that I’ve never been on the other end of that we just have to toss out. We will need to get back and get focused.”
While Nevada was slightly better on offense in the second half, CSU kept its foot on the gas, extending its lead to as many as 54 on a fadeaway jumper from Clavell with 5:43 to play in the second frame. CSU subbed out Bejarano with more than eight minutes to play and even walk-on Mike Burnett got in on the action, scoring his first points of the season on a running floater with 2:24 to play. For the night, CSU shot 57 percent from the field, 54 percent from the 3-point line and beat Nevada in every statistical category, save for blocks and offensive rebounds.
“I think it was good for us, not necessarily to win by 40 or 50, but more that we can have nights where we shoot the ball well and play great defense, which is what we tried to display tonight — and we did,” Richardson said.”
Colorado State will now head back on to the road to take on San Jose State (2-14, 0-4 Mountain West) on Saturday. The Rams beat the Spartans in both meetings last year, and SJSU is down to just eight players after multiple players were dismissed from the team last week.
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.