An ‘atrocious’ defensive performance: CSU men’s basketball loses 83-88 to UNC,

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Collegian | Reuel Indurkar

Guard John Tonje (1) shoots a free throw after drawing a defensive foul at the home game against the University of Northern Colorado Dec. 3. Tonje scored four out of six possible points against the Bears from the free throw line. The Rams lost to the Bears by a final score of 83-88.

Karsyn Lane, Sports Director

Today kicked off the battle of Northern Colorado, as Colorado State University took on the Greeley neighbors, the University of Northern Colorado in Moby Arena. After an intense neck-to-neck battle, Colorado State lost 83-88.

Coming off a two-game winning streak against Mississippi Valley State University and Loyola Marymount University, Colorado State was looking to extend its streak as they prepare for one of its biggest matchups of the season next week against the University of Colorado Boulder. The tip-off was just the beginning of a neck-to-neck match between the Rams and Bears, as UNC kicked it off by securing the first two points.

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“We gave up some uncontested layups at the rim early, our ball screen coverage was atrocious, and we weren’t locked in.” -head coach Niko Medved

The first half started much slower than expected full of traveling, missed shots, which challenged the Rams defensively. Sophomore guard, Jalen Lake, secured his first three-pointer of the night to put CSU on the scoreboard.

Only seven minutes into the game, the Rams and Bears found themselves tied 9-9, the only tie in the first half. UNC established and held this lead for the remained of the half, with their largest lead being seven points. Despite Ram’s efforts, the Bears would outshoot the Rams in their final first-half moments, leaving CSU down 34-37.

“For whatever reason, I thought this game was lost in the first half here tonight. … We didn’t really take much away from them at all,” said head coach Niko Medved. “We gave up some uncontested layups at the rim early, our ball screen coverage was atrocious, and we weren’t locked in.”

Returning from half, the Rams attention moved toward the paint with all eyes on junior center, James Moors. Moors worked under the basket pushing the Bears’ defense and secured the first four points returning.

This was short-lived as UNC adjusted and took the points to the three-point line, shooting six three-pointers in the first five minutes. Senior guard, Isaiah Stevens, and Lake tried their best to retaliate, each adding a few three-pointers during this time.

In the final moments of the matchup, Colorado State worked hard both offensively and defensively to close the gap Northern Colorado had created. It wouldn’t be a stalwart game without a little bit of Steven’s magic, as he shot and secured his third three-pointer tying the game 73-73 with four minutes on the clock.

With everyone on the edge of their seats and less than a minute left on the clock, John Tonje took to the free-throw line to sink two and trail the Bears by one point, 83-84. Unfourtently, the Rams lost 83-88 to the Bears due to final free throws and just not enough time to recover.

The Colorado State Rams will hit the road and take on one of their biggest season rivals, the University of Colorado Boulder Buffs Thursday, Dec. 8 in Boulder Colorado.

Reach Karsyn Lane at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @karsynlane1