Rams defend well in blowout win against Weber State

Colorado+State+guard+Joe+Palmer+%2820%29

Collegian | Gregory James

Colorado State guard Joe Palmer (20) steals the ball from Weber State University Nov. 14. The Rams won 77-52.

Braidon Nourse, Sports Editor

Shooters shoot.

That’s what Colorado State University did against Weber State University tonight at Moby Arena, going for 7-14 in the first half and 11-22 for the game in 3-pointers. It’s not often that a team shoots that well and loses, further proven by the Rams’ 77-52 victory over the Wildcats to push their record to 3-0 on the season.

Ad

“We wanted to come out here and be a team that plays good for both halves. We got out to a slow start defensively the last two games, so we really wanted to emphasize having energy and being active.” -Senior guard John Tonje

Early on in the game, the Rams struggled to keep the ball in their hands, consistently trying to push the pace just a bit too much. The attempts to get out to a strong start resulted in giving up six turnovers in the first 10 minutes. 

“(Niko Medved) said just keep pushing — it’s a game of runs,” sophomore guard Jalen Lake said. “I think we locked in after that timeout, locked in really defensively.”

Not only did the Rams offense settle in after going down 9-8 just under seven minutes in, but the defense’s engine started to rev as much as it has all season. The Rams only gave up six more points during the half, while they scored 28 more of their own.

“I thought we came out with a defensive mindset,” head coach Niko Medved said. “I thought the first half was as good as we’ve guarded since we’ve been here, and I thought that’s kind of what spurred everything tonight.”

Offensively, it was the Lake show early, hitting his first three 3-pointers of the game. Another pair of early threes were provided by Isaiah Rivera and Taviontae Jackson. Jackson ended the game with 14 points, four assists and three rebounds. His season field goal percentage through the first three games is an impressive 76.5%.

Later on in the half, transfer guard Josiah Strong got his first action of the season after battling illness for the first couple of weeks. He was impressive in his first game, shooting a nice 3-3 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc.

“It’s going to take (Strong) a while to really get into shape,” Medved said. “I’m sure he had some adrenaline again tonight, getting a chance to get back in there, but we kind of wanted to put him on a minutes restriction and see how he did. Sounds like he did really well — contributed immediately I thought on both ends of the floor — and that was great to see.”

Colorado State guard Jalen Lake (15) drives around Weber State forward Louie Jordan (30) November 14
Colorado State guard Jalen Lake (15) drives around Weber State forward Louie Jordan (30) November 14. The Rams won 77-52 with Lake scoring 12 of the Rams points. (Collegian | Gregory James)

After two close games to start the season, the focus was on the defensive side of the ball from the get-go. Along with the stout shooting, the defensive effort was the key to winning in lopsided fashion against the Wildcats.

“I think it was just the intensity,” senior guard John Tonje said. “We wanted to come out here and be a team that plays good for both halves. We got out to a slow start defensively the last two games, so we really wanted to emphasize having energy and being active.”

The Rams will travel to Charleston, South Carolina, to compete in the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic tournament starting Nov. 17. The Rams will face a good team in the University of South Carolina for their first game but do not know who they will play against for the remainder of the tournament due to the event’s format.

Ad

“I think these events are fun, you know, where you play teams like that, … so you can’t overthink it,” Medved said. “You’ve got to try to process a lot of information in a short period of time. But I think the key to these things is getting to do what you do best out on the court.”

Reach Braidon Nourse at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @BraidonNourse.