Rams bullied by Salukis down low, defeated 82-67

Eddie Herz

The Southern Illinois Salukis handed the Colorado State Rams their second-straight loss on Tuesday night, defeating the hosts 82-67.

Ad

It was a tale of two halves for the green and gold against SIU.

“The beginning of both halves helped them pull away. They just came out tougher in both halves and that is on us as leaders to have the guys prepared and have more energy and enthusiasm out there on defense.” REDSHIRT JUNIOR ANTHONY MASINTON-BONNER

CSU matched the Salukis’ offensive intensity in the first half but was overtaken by the visitors in the final frame.

“I think we got exposed tonight kind of for where we are at right now,” Coach Niko Medved said. “(SIU) is a good team and they have a lot of guys who can hurt you in different ways.”

The Salukis converted nine of their first ten shots to build an early advantage. An open layup by SIU guard Eric McGill gave the Salukis a 17-9 lead roughly six minutes into the game.

Medved immediately called a timeout. The stoppage paid dividends as CSU answered with an 8-0 run of its own to tie the score at 17. From then on, the teams played evenly for the majority of the half. However, SIU went on an 8-0 run over the last 2:11 of the first half to build a 45-40 lead going into the locker room.

As has been the case frequently this season, the Rams survived mainly off outside shooting in the first 20 minutes. CSU converted 7-14 three point attempts in the first half. Conversely, SIU dominated in the paint. The Salukis outscored the Rams 26-12 in the paint in the game’s opening frame. 

The Salukis shot 62 percent from the floor in the first half and picked up right where they left off in the final 20 minutes of play. SIU converted 7-12 shots to begin the final half, forcing the Rams to play catch up. 

“The beginning of both halves helped them pull away,” redshirt junior Anthony Masinton-Bonner said. “They just came out tougher in both halves and that is on us as leaders to have the guys prepared and have more energy and enthusiasm out there on defense.” 

A man takes a shot in a basketball game
Guard Anthony Masinton-Bonn tries for a 3 point shot during the second half of play against the Salukis on Tuesday, November 27, 2018. Over the course of the game he made 2 out of 5 3-point shots that he attempted. (Josh Schroeder | Collegian)

CSU proceeded to go five minutes without a field goal. Senior guard JD Paige made a three to break the scoring drought and pull the hosts within four points just over seven minutes into the second half.

Every time CSU attempted to gain momentum, the Salukis stripped it away. This was highlighted after freshman Adam Thistlewood converted a two-point field goal with the shot clock expiring to cut the deficit to 58-51 with around 11 minutes remaining. SIU’s Kavion Pippen, whom Thistlewood made the shot over, silenced CSU’s crowd by knocking down a quick jumper.

Ad

SIU’s offensive efficiency, specifically in the paint, proved too much for CSU.

“They are a good team,” Medved said. “They have good balance. They have big guys who can score inside, they have guys that can attack you off the dribble, they have multiple guys that can shoot it…I think they can be a contender in the (Missouri Valley Conference).” 

The Salukis extended their largest lead of the game to 14 at the 8:40 mark of the second half. The Rams never had the opportunity to regain the lead in the second half as SIU led for the final 22 minutes of the game.

While CSU was unable to pick up where it left off, SIU’s production in the paint got better and better as the game went on. The Salukis finished with a 44-18 point advantage in the paint.

CSU converted only 3-9 shots from beyond the arc in the second half. Overall, the Rams went 10-23 from deep.

As a team, the Rams shot 51 percent from the floor against SIU. Individually, four different Rams reached double-figures scoring. Notably, junior transfer guard Kris Martin contributed 15 points in his second game back from suspension.

“It feels good to be out here competing again with my guys,” Martin said. “We still have to get better and I would have preferred if we won. That’s what I really care about. We are back to the drawing board on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to get ready for this game on Saturday.”

The Rams’ forwards struggled mightily. CSU’s forwards combined for only 15 of its 82 points. Specifically, redshirt junior forward Nico Carvacho had his impact mitigated on both ends of the floor. 

Carvacho grabbed less than four rebounds for the first time since playing Arkansas-Fort Smith last season Dec. 19, 2017 a full 27 games ago. 

Overall, The Rams were out-rebounded 34-17 on Tuesday night.

“We got exposed (in rebounding) tonight,” Medved said. “When you are going against a bigger, athletic guy there aren’t a lot of tricks to rebounding…you are just going to fight harder and have a lot more tenacity.”

CSU will look to bounce back on Saturday as the Rams head to Boulder to face the University of Colorado at 1:00 p.m. The Rams will look to extend their winning streak over the rival Buffs to three games.

Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.