Rams bounce back from blowout loss with upset victory over Fresno State
Colorado State men’s basketball (8-12, 3-4) kicked off Saturday’s festivities by celebrating senior guard J.D. Paige, who became the 29th player in program history to score 1,000 points in Wednesday night’s loss to Nevada.
Paige stood with head coach Niko Medved and Deputy Director of Athletics Steve Cottingham at midcourt during pregame as the CSU faithful cheered on the veteran hoopster. Paige then responded by helping guide the Rams to a 70-63 victory over Fresno State with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting at Moby Arena on Saturday.
“It just shows we can play with anybody when we’re locked in and focused,” Paige said.
While it was Paige that was in the spotlight for much of Saturday, the Rams really performed well as a team in the home victory.
Kendle Moore had a solid showing on both ends of the floor. The freshman guard recorded a season-high seven rebounds, had three assists and added 16 points on 4-of-6 shooting for good measure. Kris Martin scored 11 points, dished out five assists and grabbed six rebounds as well. And despite a slow start offensively, Nico Carvacho nearly recorded his 14th double-double this season with nine points and 14 rebounds.
“After what happened to us the other day in Nevada, it just shows a lot of resolve to bounce back,” head coach Niko Medved said. “I thought our half court defense was the best it’s been all year. I thought our guys were really connected and made them work for everything. There’s so many things I could point to.”
Medved explained how he was extremely proud of Moore for bouncing back from a difficult night in Reno, NV., and coming out on Saturday with a ton of energy on both ends of the floor.
“I think it shows you a lot about who he is—to come back and play the way that he did,” Medved said. “I thought Deshon Taylor got after him a little bit, but he wasn’t affected here today.”
Taylor led all scorers in the game with 24 points on 7-of-15 shooting and played all 40 minutes for the Bulldogs, but was not able to overcome Fresno’s shooting woes as a team.
Medved also singled out Martin for his efforts on the defensive end, and praised the team’s efforts as a whole.
“It started on that end and I’ll give Aly a little credit as well,” Medved said with a smile on his face and his daughter on his lap.
As a team, CSU shot 45.1 percent from the field (23-of-51), 50 percent from 3-point range (10-of-20) and generally valued its offensive possessions with only 11 turnovers. Where the Rams struggled the most was at the free throw line. CSU went 18-of-32 at the charity stripe and those struggles nearly costed the Rams in the second half. That being said, when the game was on the line, CSU was able to buckle down and make the final six attempts in the game.
“Gosh, for a while their free throw defense was pretty good,” Medved joked. “Basketball is so crazy with the way that it goes, and sometimes missed free throws can be contagious… But, when we really needed it the most, we made those down the stretch.”
CSU will take the floor again on Tuesday night when Boise State comes to town. Over the last two seasons, the Rams are 0-4 against the Broncos and lost both meetings by double digits in 2017-18. So far in 2018-19, CSU is 3-0 in home conference games.