Nico Carvacho owns the paint in victory over Sam Houston State

Nico Carvacho is nicknamed the ‘Big Chile’ and on Saturday afternoon, No. 32 was simply too much for Sam Houston State to handle down low. The 6-foot-11 forward was an absolute menace in the paint as Carvacho finished second on the team in total points (20) and led the Rams in rebounds (19) in a 71-65 victory over the Bearkats.

On both ends of the floor, Carvacho made sure his impact was felt, and his consistent presence allowed the Rams to erase an 11-point deficit in the contest and snap a four-game losing streak. After finishing last season with 11 double-doubles, Carvacho already has six in the first 10 games of the 2018-19 campaign.

J.D. Paige advances the basketball up the court on Saturday.   PHOTO:   Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian

J.D. Paige advances the basketball up the court on Saturday. PHOTO: Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian

“We just went into the locker room and talked about the things we needed to do and I thought we executed better in the second half,” Carvacho said.

Along with Carvacho’s dominant day, senior guard J.D. Paige was able to get to the rim whenever he wanted, which really opened up things for CSU’s offense in the second half. In total, Paige made 7-of-14 attempts from the field and finished with a game-high 23 points and three rebounds.

Paige’s biggest impact plays of the day were the few times he was able to get to the free throw line though. On two different occasions, Paige was able to draw an ‘and-one’ and the Denver native was able to knock down a pair of crucial free throws in the closing minutes of the second half to help secure a victory. When the final buzzer sounded, Paige made 8-of-10 free throw attempts in the victory.

“I told my team at halftime that I was going to be more aggressive. It worked out,” Paige said.

“Those guys really got it done on both ends of the floor,” head coach Niko Medved added.

While Carvacho and Paige were everywhere for the Rams on Saturday, it was another quiet outing for Kris Martin. The Oral Roberts transfer was 0-of-4 from the field and turned the basketball over four times in 17 minutes of action. Over the last two games, Martin is a combined 2-of-18 from the field, 0-of-6 from 3-point range and has six turnovers.

“Today just wasn’t his day, but that kid will be back,” Medved said of Martin. “I’m not worried about him.”

Turnovers have been an issue for the team as a whole over the last few games though. Over the last four games, the Rams have turned the basketball over 47 times, which is something Medved wants his team to improve on.

The Rams will look to carry the momentum of Saturday’s victory into next weekend when the CSU hosts South Dakota on Sunday, Dec. 16.

PHOTO: Tony Villalobos-May | Rocky Mountain Collegian