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CSU men’s basketball drops first game of season against Saint Mary’s

%2320+Joe+Palmer+prepares+for+a+free+throw+during+the+CSU+vs.+St.+Marys+basketball+game+on+Dec.+9.+%28St.+Marys+won+64-61%29
Collegian | Ava Puglisi
#20 Joe Palmer prepares for a free throw during the CSU vs. St. Mary’s basketball game on Dec. 9. (St. Mary’s won 64-61)

You can’t win them all.

Losing 64-61 the Colorado State offense went silent during too many points of Saturday night’s game against Saint Mary’s.

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During a nine-minute stretch part way through the first half, the Rams only scored two points, allowing Saint Mary’s to jump out to a double-digit lead. That stretch would be crucial in CSU’s loss.

“I didn’t focus on ‘oh we were undefeated and now we’re not,’” coach Niko Medved said. “It’s that we had our opportunities tonight and they made more plays than we did and we’ve got to find a way to learn. And I thought again offensively we were a little bit stuck at times and needed to play a little simpler.”

Despite the ultimate struggles in the first half, it didn’t start out that way for the Rams. Burning too bright too quickly jumping ahead on an 8-0 run, the Rams looked poised to take control of the game early.

However, SMC guard Augustus Marciulionis ended up being just too much to overcome. His game defining 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting proved too much for the Rams to overcome. An outlier showing from Marcilionis who averaged nine points on 34% shooting coming into the game.

“He’s a good player, he made plays,” CSU guard Nique Clifford said. “We didn’t guard him like we were supposed to. Our scouting report told us what he does and he was making shots though, so credit to him, but we’ve got to be better.”

Also having an outlier game was CSU guard Isaiah Stevens. While his excellence scoring continued to shine through, his season-high six turnovers was uncharacteristic for the normally careful Stevens.

Despite the struggles, it was just one game and it wouldn’t be an outlier if there were any concerns going forward.

“I’ll challenge you to find another game where Isaiah has six turnovers,” Medved said. “And some of them were just uncharacteristic. … But if there’s one guy that I’m not worried about, it’s Isaiah Stevens.”

Well if you took Medved’s challenge to heart, you would have to go all the way back to Jan. 2021 when Stevens did so in back-to-back games against Boise State.

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Being short handed doesn’t help, especially when you look to get into the flow of your offense, something that CSU struggled to do tonight.

“I think just trust it,” Stevens said. “Not only myself, but just all of us. Just continuing to just understand that what we do on a daily basis works. … And so I feel like we can be more mature in that sense and that starts with me as the point guard making sure we’re organized doing what we’re supposed to do, so I’ll definitely take that one.”

Fortunately for the Rams (9-1) they’ll have eight days off to get rested up and ready. They’ll take on Colorado State University, Pueblo (6-3) at 4 p.m. Dec. 17 in Moby Arena.

“That’s good for our team,” Clifford said. “We’ve got some guys banged up and guys that need to get healthy, so it’s going to be good for some guys to be able to recover. We also get to practice a lot more, get better and get back to our flow on offense.”

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributor
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.

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