The Colorado State Rams scored early and often as they raced away to an 83-66 win over the Montana Grizzlies in their season opening game. With five incoming transfer players getting playing time in the season opener, the Rams got out to an early 19-4 lead and never looked back.
Senior guard Daniel Bejarano opened up the game by sinking his first three point shot attempt of the season, as the Rams used the three-point shot to get out to their early lead before. Colorado State shot 44.4 percent from beyond the arc, as the new additions to the Ram lineup showed their range in their season opening win.
If there was any question as to whether or not the Rams would be able to gel with so many new additions to the team, that question was answered rather quickly. Senior transfer Stanton Kidd from North Carolina Central University led Colorado State in scoring, netting 19 points, going 6 of 8 from the field, including 3 of 5 from long range. Kidd got involved early, scoring the Ram's second basket of the game, and went off for 16 in the first half as the Rams led 51-30 going into halftime.
Bejarano added 15 points of his own as he took control of the Ram's offense from the beginning. Bejarano shot 5-13 from the field, going 3-7 from beyond the arc. Bejarano also recorded 9 rebounds and 5 assists as the starting point guard for the Rams. Colorado State's returning big man J.J. Avila, who led the team in points and rebounds a season ago, added 10 points of his own as he did most of his damage inside the paint. Avila grabbed 7 rebounds, 4 of them offensive.
Colorado State's defense controlled paint from the start of the game, forcing Montana to rely on the three point shot. The Grizzlies shot 25 percent from long range and only 40.4 total as Colorado State's defense was just too strong to be able to get anything going. Junior transfer Tiel Daniels from Southern Illinois University showed his defensive ability as the starting center blocked two as well as forcing many shots to be off target.
Newcomer guards Gian Clavell, John Gillon and Antwan Scott all showed sparks off the bench for Rams. Clavell, a junior JUCO transfer from Northwest Technical College, scored 13 points, making three shots from three point range. Gillon, a sophomore guard from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock, record 11 points and three assists. Scott, a senior guard from Grambling State University, added 5 points and four assists.
With so many newcomers to Colorado State's rotation, it was going to be interesting to see how head coach Larry Eustachy would work the rotation. With a solid group of guards to choose from, Eustachy worked Kidd and Bejarano as guards and forwards as needed.
The Rams, now 1-0 on the season, should be excited about their season opening win, but there is much to be worked on. The Rams need to limit turnovers, as they turned the ball over 17 times against the Grizzlies.
Up next for Colorado State is a matchup with the Georgia State Panthers who won their season opener 115-55 against Tennessee Temple University. Game time is set for Friday, November 21 at 7 p.m. MST at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.