CSU extends school-record winning streak with blowout of Charleston Southern

Keegan Pope

Colorado State guard John Gillon defends a Charleston Southern player Monday's game.  (Photo Courtesy: CSU Athletics)
Colorado State guard John Gillon defends a Charleston Southern player Monday’s game. (Photo Courtesy: CSU Athletics)

The 2014-15 Colorado State basketball team can now say it has done something no other team in has in the program’s 112-year history.

Behind a big night from senior Daniel Bejarano, who totaled 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, No. 24 Colorado State romped to a 75-54 victory over Charleston Southern Monday night at Moby Arena. The Rams (12-0) now hold sole possession of the longest single-season winning streak in program history.

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Bejarano was one of five players in double figures, with sophomore guard John Gillon pitching in 14 points to go along with Stanton Kidd (13), J.J. Avila (11) and Gian Clavell (10).

After a sloppy start that saw CSU score just 11 points in the first six and a half minutes, the Rams turned it on late in the first half, ripping off a 21-0 run that spanned the final four minutes of the first half and the first three of the second frame. Six different Colorado State players scored during the run, which pushed the Rams to a 50-21 lead with 16:36 to play.

“I thought that was a good win for us,” CSU head coach Larry Eustachy said. “I thought we played our best stretch of basketball (this season), particularly defensively and rebounding-wise. We just played it for longer periods of time. We challenged our players and I thought they responded, we made a really good team not look very good.”

Colorado State continued to roll after that, never letting the Bucs get closer than 23 points, while playing all 11 healthy players, including Oregon transfer Fred Richardson III, who sat out the first 11 games after a suspension. Richardson recorded his first two points as a Ram on two free throws with 4:37 to play in the second half.

After narrowly escaping against a red-hot Denver team that hit 17 3-pointers Friday night against the Rams, CSU locked down on the defensive end, holding the Bucs to just 34 percent shooting, including an abysmal 8 of 27 from behind the arc.

Along with their ability to force Charleston Southern into taking poor shots, CSU also forced a season-high 18 turnovers and outrebounded the Bucs, who came in to Monday night ranked ninth in the nation in rebounding, 36-27.

“That was our focus,” Bejarano said of the Rams’ prowess on the glass. “Whatever a team is good at, we try to focus on that and stop it. That’s our job and I think we did a pretty job of it.”

With the win, the Rams surpass the 1988-89 team that won 11 straight games and remains one of just nine unbeaten teams remaining in Division I college basketball. With a win Saturday at New Mexico State (4-8), the Rams will head into conference play undefeated for the first time in school history.

“We’re just really trying to focus on New Mexico State now and go on from there,” Bejarano said. “We’re going to act like we aren’t ranked, like we’re 0-12, which is hard but at the same time we need to focus up and keep that winning mentality.”

CSU returns to action against the Aggies Saturday at 6 p.m. in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The game tips off at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

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Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @ByKeeganPope.