A tale of 2 halves: A heartbreaking loss to CU men’s basketball

Tyler Meguire

A sea of white fueled the Moby Madness energy on Friday as the Rams took on the No. 24 University of Colorado Boulder men’s basketball team. Colorado State only put up 12 points in the first half but rallied, tying the score late in the game.

First half

CSU got on the board with an Adam Thistlewood drive and dunkThere was not much scoring to talk about in the first half, but the defense for the Rams was a factor in the game.

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“Honestly I thought our defense was actually pretty good,” Thistlewood said. “We held them to, I think, 37% from the field. Sometimes, the ball, it doesn’t go in the hoop. We were getting good looks; it just wasn’t falling.”

player runs
Adam Thistlewood (31) runs down court against the University of Colorado. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

Isaiah Stevens was a clear mismatch in the post when he drew the charge from the backing-down Buffaloes. Then, nearly three minutes later, David Roddy came up with a huge block to prevent the Buffs from scoring second-chance points.

CU and CSU combined for 20 turnovers in the first half. Sloppy play had a minor role in it, but both teams were playing solid defense. The Rams came up with six steals and two blocks, while the Buffs came up with four steals and a block of their own.

At halftime, the Rams were down 27-12, and it did not look good.

Second half

The second half was a wild ride for both sides. CSU went to the locker room and figured things out while CU looked like they would try to ride out the narrow 15-point lead. The Rams came out and made the game interesting but worrisome for the visitors.

The half began with both teams trading blows. CSU started to take back control. The Rams were outscoring the Buffs 14-8 when they cut the deficit to 35-26. Moby Arena went crazy, giving the team a spark.

“The fans were phenomenal,” Thistlewood said. “That was so much fun to play in, and I can’t thank them enough for coming out and supporting us. It helps. It makes a difference.”

Then, when the Rams were giving everyone flashbacks of the first half, Roddy grabbed a rebound and hit Kendle Moore on a nice outlet pass to get the momentum back on their side.

Around the 10:25 mark, Roddy was able to get an and-one and convert on the 3-point play to cut the lead 39-33. He later picked his assignment’s pocket for an easy steal and dunk to put them within two and expand on a 9-0 run up to that point.

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The Rams officially tied it up 39-39 with 7:18 remaining.

The Buffaloes then went on a little run to put the game out of reach for the Rams. CU guard Shane Gatling hit a tough 3-pointer over the CSU defenders to extend their lead 46-40 with 3:57 remaining. 

“That’s just kinda the way basketball goes from time to time,” Stevens said. “You just got to keep playing and move on to the next play. You can’t worry about what just happened. It was disappointing. That’s the way it ended up being, but you just gotta move on from it and learn.” 

About two minutes later, Nico Carvacho missed his layup, grabbed the rebound and instead of passing it to open shooters, he tried to put it back up and got blocked. After that block, CSU looked defeated and devastated, eventually losing the game 56-48. 

Stevens led the Rams in scoring with 10 points on 3-7 shooting, and Roddy scored nine points on 4-9 shooting. Overall, the team did not shoot great, with 18-62 from the field and 2-22 from three. 

Despite all of the offensive struggle, the Rams played solid defense. They had 32 rebounds (21 defensive), four blocks and 11 steals. The Rams forced the Buffaloes to turn the ball over a total of 21 times.

“I know the game didn’t go our way tonight,” coach Niko Medved said. “I hope what they can see is a team that gives tremendous effort. … The reality is, this might’ve been our best effort of the year. As far as effort and tenacity and staying with it, our guys just fought their tails off.”

Tyler Meguire can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TMeguire