Niko Medved era begins with blowout of Colorado Christian University
Colorado State men’s basketball started its regular season slate with a 100-66 victory over Colorado Christian University at Moby Arena, Wednesday night. The Rams technically won its only exhibition of the 2018-19 season on Saturday, but the win over the Cougars will go down as the first of head coach Niko Medved’s tenure.
“I was really proud of the guys,” Medved said.
The first-year head coach of the Rams explained how he was really impressed with his players for coming out prepared from the opening tip. More than anything he was pleased with the effort to play team basketball though.
Led by guards Kendle Moore (Freshman) and Anthony Masinton-Bonner (RS Junior), the Rams efficiently moved the basketball around the floor, and found ways to get open looks all night.
“I thought our ball movement was terrific at times. 21 assists—I just think it’s fun to play that way, and I thought guys were sharing the ball and trying to do the right things,” Medved said.
Moore, a 5-foot-10 guard out of Danville, Ill., got the Rams going early with seven points in the first 3 minutes of the game, and CSU never looked back. The true freshman scored 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and consistently looked too quick for the CCU defenders to handle on the floor.
“It felt good. At first I was a little nervous,” Moore said.
The young guard said he knew that he had to play cautiously and intelligently because the team was without J.D. Paige. But once he was able to get out on the floor and execute, things really started to click for him on the offensive end.
Masinton-Bonner has seen his role increase in each of the previous two seasons, but appears to have really found his footing in Medved’s newly implemented offense. The veteran point guard made good decisions with the basketball, hit his open shots, and generally did a nice job of taking what the defense was giving him. In all, Masinton-Bonner made 8-of-9 field goal attempts and scored 22 points in the home victory.
Following the game, Masinton-Bonner praised the team for sticking to the game-plan and sharing the basketball. When asked about Moore’s performance, the veteran from Lawrence, KS., gleefully praised his younger teammate.
“I can’t stop smiling for him. This is my guy right here,” Masinton-Bonner said of Moore. “We hung out all summer. He’s put the work in…We’ve got a lot of confidence in him. We know what he’s going to bring every day.”
Medved had high praise for Masinton-Bonner though—complimenting his growth over the summer—and pointing out that while his offense has been great, his defense has been equally impactful.
“He made shots tonight, but I thought they were good shots,” Medved said. “Guys were moving the ball and they were open shots, where he shot them in the rhythm of the offense and it looked good coming off his hand. But he can make those…The guards were terrific tonight.”
Along with strong play from the guards, forwards, Lorenzo Jenkins (RS Junior) and Nico Carvacho (Junior) each finished with double digit scoring as well. Jenkins made 3-of-7 3-point attempts and finished the game with a career-best 15 points. Carvacho picked up where he left off last season by scoring 14 points and pacing the Rams with 15 rebounds.
The Rams will look to build off the momentum of Wednesday night’s victory this Saturday. CSU hosts Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 2:00 p.m. MT.