Men’s basketball total team effort downs UNLV at Moby

Bailey Bassett

The Colorado State University men’s basketball team’s identity for majority of the season has been that they are a young squad that has the potential to be a conference contender, but the consistency hasn’t always shown.

This team has the talent but doesn’t always put it together for 40 minutes. As the season progressed, there have been growing pains, but lately the Rams are proving they are a force to be reckoned with. 

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With another dominant performance on Saturday against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, going 95-77, the Rams find themselves at number two in the conference standings. It was another offensive victory for a Rams team that has been in the groove on the offensive side of the floor.

This game was highlighted by runs. With less than four minutes left in the first half, UNLV was up by eight points. That all changed when CSU went on a 16-3 run capped off by another Isaiah Stevens buzzer-beater.

Stevens, who hit the game-winner against Nevada on Wednesday, received a little dump-off pass from Kendle Moore and pulled up while contested from well beyond the 3-point line. The double clutch buzzer-beater sparked CSU’s momentum for the rest of the game.

 

Stevens has been heroic recently. The team leader in points and assists had an efficient 21 points on 7-8 shooting this game. He shot a perfect 5-5 from deep as well. Overall, the Rams made 11 3-pointers, coming out to 64.7%

UNLV is known as an aggressive defensive team, but CSU was able to dominate them with a great inside-out game. Not only were they on fire from deep, but the post players showed all sorts of moves down low.

Nico Carvacho displayed a Hakeem Olajuwon dream shake for the first bucket of the game, and David Roddy demonstrated a nice up-and-under, freeing himself from the outstretched arms of the defender.

Carvacho was in foul trouble early but still managed to put up a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in only 20 minutes. Carvacho has embraced a lower statistical role this season but has been vital to CSU’s success. He still leads the Mountain West in rebounding as well. This double-double also gave Carvacho the tie in Mountain West history for this statistic with 45 total

“He is leading the Mountain West in rebounding again,” head coach Niko Medved said. “People just take that for granted. He is playing the best defense he ever has in his career. His leadership in the locker room and off the court has been absolutely phenomenal.” 

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The bench was also vital to this win. Hyron Edwards was once again an energizer off the bench. He plays pesky defense that leads to deflections and steals, and he even went on a couple shooting streaks.

Kris Martin, John Tonje and Dischon Thomas all played big bench roles as well. Martin and Tonje both hit a 3-pointer, and Thomas had nine points while playing some extra minutes for Carvacho. 

“I thought both Kris (Martin) and Hyron (Edwards) were terrific today,” Medved said. “I thought they came off the bench and gave us a really big spark defensively, and they knocked down a couple of shots.”

CSU has now won nine of the last 11 matches, and this win will up their ranking in the Mountain West standings. On Tuesday they travel to California to face off against Fresno State, who they recently stomped 86-68.

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