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Can CSU men’s basketball turn it around against South Dakota?

Second-half woes still haunt the Colorado State men’s basketball team. After losing their last matchup against Boise State 75-64 after leading 33-32 at the half, CSU will head back home to try to figure things out before conference play.

The Rams had their first taste of conference play on Wednesday against San Diego State University and Saturday against Boise State. A common theme for the Rams was a lack of scoring and defense in the second halves of both games. Against SDSU, they found themselves down a manageable six points (38-32) at the end of the first half. Then CSU was outscored 41-25 in the second half.

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In the matchup against Boise State, the Rams were ahead by halftime but were then outscored 43-31 in the second half. While the scoring was about the same in both halves, the defense collapsed, allowing the Broncos to take control.

Now, CSU will have a stretch of four non-conference games to figure out their second-half struggles. This stretch starts Tuesday against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits at Moby Arena.

Both teams will come into the matchup on a two-game losing streak. The Jackrabbits dropped their previous game 77-70 against Montana State. On Nov. 30, they lost to Indiana 64-50.

Overall, both teams are 6-5. Statistically, both teams are, again, fairly even. The Jackrabbits are averaging 74.5 points per game and allowing 72.4 points per game. The Rams are averaging 71.3 points per game and allowing 71.2 points per game. Both teams are shooting well, with South Dakota shooting 45% from the field and CSU shooting 46.2% from the field.

The Jackrabbits’ scoring leader is Douglas Wilson, who is averaging 16.5 points per game on 59.2% from the field. The good news for the Rams is that Wilson does not shoot many threes, and when he does, he is not very successful (0-5 on the year).

Nico Carvacho and Isaiah Stevens are sharing the offensive load for the Rams. Carvacho leads CSU with 13.5 points per game, and Stevens averages 11.5 points per game. Adam Thistlewood is still providing a solid scoring role, as he averages 10 points per game.

Unfortunately for the Rams, South Dakota does most of their scoring in the second half. The Jackrabbits have put up 389 combined points in their first halves. Then in the second half, they have scored 408 points. However, the defense for South Dakota slows down a bit in the second half. Opponents have scored 377 points before halftime and 398 after.

If the Rams can turn it around in this matchup, it will bode well for their record heading into conference play. CSU has two challenging matchups after South Dakota with No. 20 rival University of Colorado Boulder and defensive-heavy University of Tulsa. 

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

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