CSU celebrates Ag Day with blowout victory over Wyoming

When Colorado State and Wyoming met in Laramie in February, head coach Niko Medved referred to it as CSU’s worst performance of the season. The Rams struggled mightily to shoot the basketball against the Wyoming’s zone defense and on the offensive end, the Cowboys were red hot beyond the arc.

On Saturday afternoon, CSU (11-16, 6-8) had an opportunity to get revenge on its home floor and did not waste it, defeating Wyoming (6-21, 2-12) by 35 points (83-48).

Wearing pumpkin orange and alfalfa green uniforms in honor of the the school’s agricultural heritage, CSU looked like a different team than the squad that got embarrassed in Laramie, Wyo., just a few short weeks ago.

“Obviously a really good performance by our guys—it feels good to win and to play the way that we did on both ends of the floor,” head coach Niko Medved said postgame.

The Rams were much more active on both ends of the floor, efficiently moved with and without the basketball, and most importantly CSU did not let the Cowboys get too many open looks from deep. After the Cowboys made 13-of-24 shots from beyond the arc on Feb. 9 (54.2 percent), Wyoming only made 2-of-22 shots from beyond the arc on Saturday (9.1 percent).

Medved explained how other than Justin James, who led Wyoming with 29 points on 12-of-24 shooting, nobody on the Cowboys was able to get in a rhythm.

“Justin James is just a terrific player,” Medved said. “He obviously got his points, but I thought early in the game we did a pretty nice job of disrupting him… And then we just didn’t let anybody else get going.”

Along with not allowing the Cowboys to get off open jump shots while on defense, offensively, CSU made the most of its own opportunities from the floor. The Rams made 13-of-30 3-point attempts in the victory, had more assists than the competition and finished with a shooting percentage of 43.3 overall. The only thing CSU really did not do well was value its offensive possessions, but the game was out of hand before it really impacted them.

“We had 20 assists, but we can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did and expect to have most nights, “ Medved said. “But, I like that we were aggressive. We were attacking, we were sharing the ball early, we were trying to go inside early, which I liked… I thought for the most part all game, we did a good job.”

Senior guard J.D. Paige paced the Rams with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. The third-year starter has now finished with double-digit scoring figures in all but one of CSU’s conference games this season.

According to Paige, between the motivation of it being his final Border War and the Wyoming players bringing a broom into the arena, the team had plenty of motivation to go out and get a home win.

With 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists, Kris Martin played a crucial role in the win for CSU as well. The junior guard did a little bit of everything for the Rams and never seemed to slow down on either end of the floor. When Martin was on defense, he had quick feet and consistently pressured opposing shooters; and when Martin was on offense, the Oral Roberts transfer made good decisions with the basketball.

In total, five different players finished with 10 or more points for CSU, including Nico Carvacho (13), Adam Thistlewood (11) and Hyron Edwards (10).

The Rams will look to build off the momentum of back-to-back victories in Wednesday’s road game at Boise State (11-15, 6-7). The Broncos defeated the Rams by two earlier this season and have won five straight matchups against CSU over the past couple of seasons.