Colorado State closes out 20-win season on Senior Day

Tyler Meguire

Saturday afternoon was an emotional affair for the Colorado State men’s basketball team at Moby Arena as they honored Hyron Edwards, Kris Martin and Nico Carvacho. Each senior received a standing ovation from the entirety of the crowd, even the Air Force fans, for the Rams’ Senior Day.

The Rams were in control all game and won the game 87-74 over the Falcons. CSU will finish the regular season with 20 wins, which is the best season since 2016-17.

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Senior spotlight: How did they perform?

Martin usually comes off the bench for the Rams, but in honor of Senior Day, coach Niko Medved decided to put him in with the starters. With that, Martin’s first shot, the Rams’ first 3-pointer, of the game gave CSU an early 9-8 lead with 16:13 remaining in the first half. 

At half, the seniors helped the team push to a 42-28 lead. Carvacho had four points, two rebounds and one assist. Martin had six points and did not miss a shot (2-2 from three). Edwards struggled to find his shot but was crashing the boards and distributing the ball (two rebounds and three assists).

Edwards finally got on the board from a foul on a drive to the basket at the 11:36 mark. He calmly hit both free throws and hustled back down the court.

Carvacho did not put up his normal numbers but sure got the crowd going. At the 5:22 mark, he tried snapping the rim off with a wide-open dunk.

Senior Nico Carvacho talks to a young fan before leaving the court at the end of the game against the San Jose State Spartans. (Lucy Morantz | The Collegian)

“I definitely had a different feeling (today),” Carvacho said.  “You start thinking about it when you get in the locker room right before we go out. Like this is the last time. It was definitely an emotional thing.”

With 17 seconds remaining and the Rams up 87-74, the seniors checked out for the final time. The only people sitting in the arena were media members. Hugs poured in from the players and coaches.

Carvacho ended the game with 12 points and six rebounds, and Martin had six points and two assists. Edwards finished with two points and five assists.

“Great win by our guys today,” Medved said. “These things tend to be emotional sometimes, and you never know how that emotion is gonna affect you, right? We made enough plays here, and I thought we did a great job sharing the ball and found a way to get a win. I thought the crowd was really good today. It was a great way to send out these seniors.”

When it rains, it pours

It took the Rams a couple of minutes to get the 3-point shot going against Air Force. Martin hit the first three, and the Rams were mostly focusing on getting the ball inside. Then, Adam Thistlewood happened.

He broke the game open with his first three with 12:28 on the clock. Then he drove baseline to dunk over the Falcons, increasing the lead 18-10.  

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Around the 8:48 mark, Kendle Moore hit a three. Following suit, Martin, Thistlewood and Moore hit consecutive 3-pointers in a 1:29 span.  

The Rams finished the first half with seven 3-pointers, shooting 46.7% from three. Moore had nine points on 3-6 shooting (three 3-point field goals). His hot hand continued to the second half, as he hit another three at the 18:55 mark and then another one at the 15:48 mark. 

It was more of the same for the remainder of the game. The Rams finished the game going 13-31 from three. Moore finished out the game with 21 points and made seven of the 13 threes for CSU.

The Rams will be hard to beat if they can shoot like that for the Mountain West tournament.

“Yeah, (I was) feeling it a little bit,” Moore said. “You know, coach told me if I got a good look, just keep shooting it. That’s what I did today, and he was on my side.”

The Rams will have to bring more intensity to the MW tournament 

Understandably, it was Senior Day, and emotions were flowing. The Rams were also facing the ninth place team in the conference right before the tournament. CSU looked flat tonight, even though they cruised to a 13-point victory.

The MW tournament is a whole different animal. While CSU has been able to ride the Moby Madness electricity every home game, it will not be there in Las Vegas. The Rams have already been set up to not be bothered by noise, playing in tough environments such as Duke, Utah State and San Diego State, but again, it’s a different animal.

Air Force was able to cut the lead to 10 points with 1:34 remaining in the second half, and the Falcons were able to claw themselves back by outscoring the Rams 46-45 in the second half. CSU has struggled with not being able to put the dagger in teams all season. This comes with inexperience and youth, but it cannot happen in the tournament.

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