With a chance to make a statement on the road against a Power Five opponent, the Colorado State men’s basketball team came up short in Palo Alto, losing to Stanford 56-49.
CSU came out aggressive, knocking down a pair of three’s in the first few minutes of the contest, matching their total in the first two games combined. Unfortunately for the Rams, that aggressiveness did not translate to much success offensively, as the team struggled to create any sort of rhythm, turning the ball over 11 times and scoring just 23 points in the first half.
The Rams moved the ball around the perimeter fairly well and had some decent looks from beyond the arc, but long range shooting has not been a strength for the Rams in the early parts of the season and that was the case again Sunday.
Coming out of the break, it was clear Larry Eustachy emphasized that the team needed to play to their strengths and the Rams did so, by coming out and attacking the rim. Che Bob started the half with a nice drive to the hoop, drawing a foul and finishing the layup.
From there on out, the Rams continued to attack the post and were able to cut a double-digit deficit down to seven, just five minutes into the second half.
As poor of an offensive performance as it was for the Rams, a strong defensive effort kept the green and gold in the game early and it was what got them back into the contest in the second half.
The Rams defense held Stanford to just 21 points in the second half, including an eight minute stretch between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second, where the Cardinal did not score a single point.
On the day, Colorado State held Stanford to just 36 percent shooting from the floor and forced 18 turnovers. Unfortunately for Eustachy’s Rams, those turnovers only led to 13 points offensively and that was really the difference in the end.
Without Gian Clavell in the lineup, the Rams’ offense has been a work in progress through the first three games of the season. Shooting just 30 percent from the field and totalling 20 turnovers, the inability to score cost the Rams in a game where they played strong enough defensively to get a huge road victory.
Prentiss Nixon led all Colorado State scorers with 15 points, followed by Emmanuel Omogbo and Nico Carvacho, who each added nine points.
The Rams will look to rediscover their offense Wednesday Nov. 23, when they take on Maryland Eastern Shore at Moby Arena.
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.