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Men’s basketball splits series against top-ranked Boise State

David Roddy (21) shoots against Boise State University, Jan. 27. (Luke Bourland | The Collegian)

Colorado State University’s split series against Boise State University produced two fascinating games. On Wednesday, CSU shocked the collegiate basketball world and blew out Boise State, winning their first game 78-56

CSU’s ball control was sloppy with 19 turnovers, but just about every other facet of their play was excellent. The Rams played fantastic defense and were getting what they wanted offensively.

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CSU had an epic comeback against SDSU, a revenge win against Utah State and a blowout performance over the Broncos of Boise State. They have proven they are massive threats in not only the Mountain West Conference but the nation as a whole.”

David Roddy had perhaps the best game of his career. Roddy set career highs in both points and rebounds, 27 and 15 respectively. Roddy was dominant, especially against Derrick Alston Jr., a likely future pro from Boise State.

Boise State is the top-ranked team in the conference, and capturing two wins would have jolted CSU into top seed contention. Unfortunately, CSU dropped the second matchup. The turnover problems continued, and CSU finished the game with 18, resulting in an eight-point loss

It’s hard to overcome that many turnovers, and Boise State is too good to slack on the defensive side of the ball. CSU did play solid for 30 minutes and was hanging onto a one-point lead going into halftime, but it was a brutal 10-minute stretch to start the second half, which gave Boise State an insurmountable lead.

Boise State has freak athletes who play well inside. Scoring in the paint, interior defense and rebounding were clear issues for CSU on Friday. Still, the Rams’ big-man play was solid. Roddy had another impressive showing with 16 points and eight rebounds, and while James Moors had just four points, he continued to demonstrate a skilled arsenal. Moors’ footwork in the post is reminiscent of hall-of-famer Hakeem Olajuwon with a variety of spin and up-and-under moves. 

Adam Thistlewood was CSU’s most standout performer. Thistlewood went berserk in the first half and poured in 18 points. His smooth midrange pull-ups were frequent, and his confidence from deep was very apparent.

Boise State figured out how to slow down Thistlewood a little bit in the second half, but he finished with 24 total points and five 3-pointers, tying one career high and setting another.

There is no better way to highlight how good the top of the conference is than to look at CSU’s schedule. The Rams are 9-3 in conference play, with all three of their losses against the other top teams in the conference. They split the series’ against all three of the other top four spots of the conference, and all six of those games were thrillers. 

The Mountain West Conference has not been this good at the top in a long time, if ever. CSU, Boise State, San Diego State University and Utah State University are all March Madness hopefuls. The last time we saw so much talent in the conference was Kawhi Leonard and Jimmer Fredette’s last year. There is a strong possibility for the conference to receive four bids for the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament in March.

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CSU had an epic comeback against SDSU, a revenge win against Utah State and a blowout performance over the Broncos of Boise State. They have proven they are massive threats in not only the Mountain West Conference but the nation as a whole.

CSU now stands at third in the conference. Utah State and Boise State still have to face each other, as do Boise State and SDSU. The green and gold are very much still in play to be crowned conference champions.

The Rams will travel to Laramie, Wyoming, for the annual Border War against the University of Wyoming for their next series, which kicks off Feb. 4.

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

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