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Rams will their way to a win over NC State

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The Colorado State men’s basketball team has found a way to survive and advance all season and the quarterfinal of the National Invitation Tournament was no different. CSU squeaked out a 65-61 victory over three-seed North Carolina State University behind a strong second-half performance. 

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We had to get over the disappointment of not being in the NCAA tournament, but we’re still playing basketball in late march – what more can you ask for.” -David Roddy, men’s basketball player

To say the Rams started slowly would be an understatement. In the first half, CSU shot 27.6% from the field and converted just one 3-pointer despite 15 attempts. Fears surrounding a lack of presence in the paint were warranted as the Rams were outrebounded and outscored down low.

Luckily, NC State couldn’t capitalize on CSU’s offensive woes as they only held a 3-point lead going into the half. The Wolfpack will surely look back on the first half as a 20-minute period of missed opportunity. CSU was able to draw the Wolfpack into 10 personal fouls and force eight turnovers, and if it wasn’t for their defensive hustle, they likely would have found themselves facing a much larger deficit going into the second half.

Kendle Moore points into the crowd and yells after Colorado State University defeats North Carolina State University.
Kendle Moore (3)  yells into the crowd after Colorado State University defeats North Carolina State University in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal game March 25. Colorado State beat NC State 65-61 March 25 (Devin Cornelius | The Collegian)

Like their defensive hustle that kept them in the game in the first half, it was a defensive play that ignited the Rams to start the second. With 15:25 left in the game, David Roddy stole the ball from NC State’s Dereon Seabron and found Isaiah Stevens for a transition three which gave the Rams a 38-35 lead — their first of the game. 

CSU’s tragic 3-point shooting continued, as the Rams would only finish 3-23 from deep on the game, but the Rams more than made up for it by reestablishing their identity in the post, as they would outscore NC State 40-34 in the paint.

“Our guards were terrific, they played with great energy,” Niko Medved said in the post-game press conference. “They were attacking, not just settling when they got into the lane.” 

Stevens and Kendle Moore would finish with 18 and 16 points, respectively. The duo had a multitude of impressive finishes on the night, especially when you consider they were going up against an inside presence that towered over them in the form of NC State’s 6-foot-10-inch D.J. Funderburk and 6-foot-11-inch Manny Bates.

Roddy finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, a dominant stat line that is now to be expected of the forward. But, the most impressive aspect of Roddy’s game is the arsenal of shots he has in his pocket. With 1:21 left in the game, Roddy hit a beautiful turnaround jumper. This shot gave the Rams a 63-59 lead, but a late NC State dunk would put the game within reach for the Wolfpack. 

Games coming down to the final possession has been a theme of the year for Medved’s squad. With 14 seconds left, NC State’s Jericole Hellems put up a three-ball that would have given the Wolfpack the lead. 

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Hellems missed and after a ferocious battle in the post, Roddy snatched the ball out of the air to secure the Rams’ possession. Two converted high-pressure free-throws from Moore later and the Rams would solidify the victory. 

 The Rams will play The University of Memphis in the NIT semifinals on Saturday after Memphis edged out Boise State University 59-56. 

What drives this CSU team to play this deep in the year, despite their March Madness snub? 

“We had to get over the disappointment of not being in the NCAA tournament, but we’re still playing basketball in late March,” Roddy said. “What more can you ask for?”

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.

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About the Contributor
Devin Cornelius, Digital Managing Editor
Devin Cornelius is the digital managing editor for The Collegian. He is a fifth-year computer science major from Austin, Texas. He moved to Colorado State University and started working for The Collegian in 2017 as a photographer. His passion for photography began in high school, so finding a photography job in college was one of his top priorities. He primarily takes sports photos, volleyball being his favorite to shoot. Having been on The Collegian staff for 4 1/2 years, he's watched the paper evolve from a daily to a weekly paper, and being involved in this transition is interesting and exciting. Although Cornelius is a computer science major, his time at The Collegian has been the most fulfilling experience in his college career — he has loved every second. From working 12-hour days to taking photos in Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference, he cannot think of a better place to work. Working as a photographer for The Collegian pushed him outside of his comfort zone, taking him places that he never expected and making him the photographer he is today. As the digital managing editor, Cornelius oversees the photos, graphics and social media of The Collegian along with other small tech things. Working on the editorial staff with Katrina Leibee and Serena Bettis has been super fun and extremely rewarding, and together they have been pushing The Collegian toward being an alt-weekly. Outside of The Collegian, he enjoys playing volleyball, rugby, tumbling and a variety of video games. When in Austin, you can find him out on the lake, wake surfing, wake boarding and tubing. You can expect that Cornelius and the rest of The Collegian staff will do their best to provide you with interesting and exciting content.

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