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Late 2nd-half run propels CSU men’s basketball to season-opener victory

Colorado+State+University+No.+4+Isaiah+Steven+dribbles+the+ball+down+the+court+at+the+mens+basketball+season-opener+against+Louisiana+Tech+Nov.+6.+CSU+won+81-73.
Collegian | Lauren Mascardo
Colorado State University No. 4 Isaiah Steven dribbles the ball down the court at the men’s basketball season-opener against Louisiana Tech Nov. 6. CSU won 81-73.

The home opener was a success for transfer forward Joel Scott and company.

Scott dominated the court, scoring 18 points and helping lead Colorado State to their first win of the 2023-24 season in an 81-73 victory over Louisiana Tech

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The energy was high in Moby Arena as guard Isaiah Stevens and the Rams ran on the court for Stevens final home opener as a Ram. With the adrenaline pumping for both teams, the game started off strong on both ends of the court. 

Stevens’ return to Moby was a big story heading into the Rams’ home opener. However, it was the transfer players who took over the court for the Rams. Scott and guard Nique Clifford led all scorers in the first half with 10 and nine points, respectively, both shooting at least 50% from the field.

“With so many new guys, it can be hard to trust,” Stevens said. “Especially in game one where we find ourselves in an adverse situation right off the gate. We don’t know how guys are going to respond. … The fact that we were all able to stay connected, and we were preaching that at halftime, just staying together.”

The Rams struggled getting rebounds, as Louisiana Tech out rebounded the Rams both offensively and defensively. The rebounding differential propelled the Bulldogs to nine second-chance points after just 10 minutes of action. 

“That’s the thing I’m most disappointed about,” coach Niko Medved said. “I think that we have in practice and in our two scrimmages against big teams — we have been really good on the glass, but today we were not good in any way.”

Despite the lack of rebounding, the Rams’ smooth-operating offense kept them close throughout the duration of the first half. The Rams shot 38% from the field with 33% from beyond the ark. 

The second half started off with a bang as Scott threw down a strong dunk for the Rams, giving them momentum early. Forward Patrick Cartier was able to continue the offensive push with his own and-one basket forcing the Bulldogs to call a timeout. 

The energy was palpable as both teams exchanged offensive surges. The Rams finished the game outscoring Louisiana Tech 32-16 in the final 12 minutes. Scott was a big part of that run and of the team’s success Monday night.

“At the end of the day, I can’t do it without my teammates, and I can’t do it without my coaches,” said Scott. “They put me in a good position tonight, and it just worked out well for me.”

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CSU men’s basketball is back in action this week, taking on Wright State at 7 p.m. Nov. 10 in Moby Arena.

Reach Luke Hojnowski at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @lukehojo.

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