Men’s basketball season ends as Big Dance chance trips Rams in 2nd half

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Collegian | Madeline Davis

Dischon Thomas (11) dribbles into the paint as University of Michigan players Caleb Houstan (22) and Eli Brooks (55) guard him March 17, 2022, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michigan beat Colorado State University 75-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Taylor Paumen, Sports Director

The NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament has finally begun after weeks of anticipation and a season of preparation for the Colorado State University Rams. 

The No. 6 Rams went into the first round taking on the No. 11 University of Michigan Wolverines in Indianapolis for the first game of the tournament in Gainbridge Fieldhouse, home arena of the NBA Indiana Pacers.

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The Rams came out ready for the Big Dance, starting the game strong with several threes to get them an early 14-7 lead in the first half. Colorado State’s tight man defense seemed to be slowing down Michigan while also keeping a leash on 7-foot-1-inch monster Hunter Dickinson.

Throughout the first half, the Rams eliminated the chance for Michigan to get comfortable, shutting down U-M’s offense and holding Dickson to 12 points, with CSU adding five steals that created potential play opportunities. 

Closing the half, Colorado State went 8-20 around the 3-point arc, holding the Wolverines to 0-7. Dischon Thomas started the first half looking like a guard, making half the green and gold’s threes. The Rams headed into the locker room with a 36-29 lead.

The Rams started the second half with what seemed like the same strong momentum as the first 20 minutes; however, the Wolverines came out of the locker room with a new burst of energy, slowing down CSU to a three-point lead. 

Colorado State’s lead slowly started to fade away as the Wolverines’ shooting accuracy increased, the Rams up one, 44-43, with just over 13 minutes to go. Michigan saw their first lead of the game shortly after, but the Rams battled, the two trading leads three times in three minutes. 

Despite the back-and-forth, the Rams stayed on the Wolverines’ tail until they fell seven points behind with just over five minutes left, but they couldn’t get out of that hole. With a minute left in the game, the Rams were down 10 points when it turned into a free-throw game, as Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy fouled out late. 

Although Colorado State came out starting the game with what looked like a victory in sight, things turned south as Michigan created the first upset of the tournament, taking over the Rams 75-63. Thomas led the Rams with 15 points, followed by Roddy with 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. 

The Rams finish the 2021-22 basketball season in Indianapolis with a 25-6 overall record and even more of a drive for next year.

Reach Taylor Paumen at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @TayTayPau.