Carvacho makes history, but the Rams fall to Arkansas State

Bailey Bassett

Losing at home is always hard to swallow, the same can be said for the Colorado State University men’s basketball team Wednesday night as the Rams suffered a loss at home to Arkansas State University.

The Rams fell in a 80-78 heartbreaker that wasn’t lost until late in the game. CSU showcased extremely strong offense throughout the night and was even up by 10 points with five minutes left in the game.

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Dischon Thomas (11) swings the ball from an Arkansas State player. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

It was the defense that gave this game away for the Rams. This was a winnable game against a good Arkansas State team, and the Rams let it slip away. The Rams’ post defense was passable as they finished with six blocks and prevented a paint dominate team from overpowering them down low. 

However, the three-point defense by the Rams was putrid. The Red Wolves shot 13-20 from deep, a disturbingly high mark at 65%. Teams have hot nights, and that happens, but missed rotations, assignments and an overall lack of effort defensively directly caused this loss.

CSU had a chance at the end. The score went back and forth within the last minute and a half. Every time the Rams lost the lead, star Nico Carvacho was able to get it back. A tough reverse layup against a double team and a couple of clutch free throws by Carvacho kept the Rams in the game.

Late in the game, Marquis Eaton nailed a dagger from three-point land in the last minute of play to put the Red Wolves up 79-76. The stars appeared as though they aligned for CSU to tie the game and send it to overtime as Nico Carvacho got the ball down low, drew a foul and converted on the layup. All that CSU needed was for Carvacho to finish his free throw for the Rams to have a second life and tie the game, but the big man missed the shot from the charity stripe.

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Kendle Moore (3) jumps for the hoop against Arkansas State. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

“(Carvacho) has been shooting the ball a lot better from the free-throw line as of late, and he missed that one, but heck anyone could have in that situation,” Head Coach Niko Medved said. “He took it strong and got the and-one, but that’s the game and we still had a chance there late.”

After a couple more chances with less than 15 seconds in the game, CSU lost the game-tying shot on an attempted alley-oop to Carvacho. 

Even with a missed shot at the end, Carvacho showed why he is one of the best in the business. Carvacho secured his 1,000th career rebound in the second half and ended the game with five total boards while scoring 15 points on 5-8 shooting from the field. 

It wasn’t Carvacho’s best game, but he proved that he is more than just a big body down low, and he did a lot of the little things that are unexpected from a near seven-footer, showing off his versatility with numerous dazzling passes. 

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David Roddy (21) dribbles past an Arkansas State player. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

David Roddy showed out as the freshman physically dominate all night long. The big man had multiple and-one conversions and three blocks. He was simply too strong for his defenders. Roddy finished with a career-high 14 points. Roddy impressed in other ways than his brute strength as well. On a coast-to-coast break near the end of the game, he showed off the finesse part of his game with a euro step where he smartly faked the pass to Carvacho to open up the lane before converting on the layup.

This loss was very tough to stomach but will be a great learning experience going forward. This Rams team is young and is seeing major contributions from freshman including Roddy, Isaiah Stevens, John Tonje, and Dischon Thomas, as well as from sophomores Kendle Moore and Adam Thistlewood.

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“We weren’t dialed in down the stretch, we had a 16 point lead in the second half and we need to be able to close out games like that,” Stevens said. “I don’t care if we are young and I don’t care if we have a bunch of new guys but we have to be able to finish basketball games and that is on us.”

The Rams hope to bounce back against New Mexico State on Nov. 25, in the Cayman Island Classic that takes place in the Grand Caymans in what should be another thriller against another very good team.

Bailey Bassett can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_.