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CSU men’s basketball bounces back Tuesday against SDSU

Collegian | Avery Coates
Joel Scott (1) looks for an open pass during the Colorado State Men’s Basketball team’s game against San Diego State Jan. 30. After an electric game, CSU won 79-71.

Just 72 hours before Colorado State men’s basketball tipped off against San Diego State, they had one of the worst collapses in program history.

In those three-short days between their 79-71 win over the Aztecs, it was a simple game of kickball that helped get their mojo back.


Coming into the game there were questions about the connectedness of the team, which was something that could have been in the balance after the devastating loss in overtime to Wyoming. That however was clearly just noise.

“I had a hard time not getting emotional in the locker room after the game,” CSU coach Niko Medved said. “It’s been an interesting 72 hours to say the least just part of the most gut wrenching loss I’ve ever been a part of and everything that went along with it, these young men and what they did and how they’ve handled the last 3 days showed who they are as young men. Emotionally, physically, mentally all those things, and to come out and fight and do what they needed to do here tonight was awesome.”

It was evident in Tuesday’s matchup that the team was able to flush the game in Laramie, Wyo. and really start fresh. 

In fact, the team spent the past 72 hours focusing on team bonding and building back the chemistry they have showcased all season.

“We tried to just get our mind off of it,” CSU guard Nique Clifford said. “We went and played kickball, we just did some things to get our minds right and have some fun get back to being who we are and I think that helped us and brought us closer together, and then we got in and of course did practice, and got ready for San Diego State, I think it payed off.”

In a season where every win counts, having a moment to get away from a tough loss and let loose and have a little fun was completely necessary for this team. 

Part of the turnaround game was the inclusivity the Ram’s possessed with four guys in double figures. Including a 20 point double-double for Clifford, his fourth of the season.

“Locked in from the jump,” CSU guard Isaiah Stevens said, who also had a 20-point night. “ That was something we challenged ourselves as a team and the locker room and the huddles before we went out for the tip is: can we execute out the gate, can we be locked in out the gate, can we do our job out the gate and not let it take us three, four, five minutes to figure out; alright this is a high level basketball game against a really good opponent, and (Clifford) did that. He carried us through the first half and large parts of the second half as well just making plays on both ends, whenever he wasn’t fouling.”

While Clifford’s shot making has been nothing short of amazing, the physical play he displayed pulling down boards on both ends of the floor providing the spark the Rams needed to pull off the win.


The ability CSU showcased to bounce back the way they did proved how dangerous they can truly be, especially going forward into the rest of conference play.

While this may be a turning point in the season, the Rams have a difficult road ahead of them, starting with a tough Fresno State team.

“Well you definitely always wanna keep it rolling,” Stevens said. “I’d be lying to you if I said that’s not the goal we gotta take it one game at a time we can’t overlook anybody just because you want to win all five games in a stretch. We gotta turn all our attention to Fresno, which is another really good team who does some things schematically that we gotta prepare for, especially because they are tough on both ends of the floor. I’ve been playing against them for a long time so I know what that game is going to look like, so we can’t overlook anybody as much as I want to say this will start a winning streak for us, we just gotta take it one game at a time.”

Although the Rams have not fared well on the road this season, they have been able to pick up the slack at home in front of the Moby Arena crowd. 

The Rams have a chance to break the 0-4 road record, and prove that they can perform in uncomfortable conditions while staying connected as a unit.

“We’re not the only team to go through ups and downs in a season, and we’re not gonna be the last,” Stevens said. “We’re not the first team to deal with a heart break like that up in Laramie so we knew what it meant to regroup, it wasn’t necessarily easy, but we took the steps that we needed as a program and coach Medved did an awesome job managing these last 72 hours making sure that we had our minds in the right place, understanding where our focus needed to be and what’s already happened happened, there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

Reach Luke Hojnowski at or on Twitter @lukehojo.

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    PortyaJan 31, 2024 at 6:44 pm

    Go RAMS