The 11-0 Colorado State Rams reached No. 24 in the AP poll and are the only team in the Mountain West to be ranked. Monday night against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers was their first game as a ranked basketball team, and they represented themselves well against their 5-4 opponent from the Big South Conference.
The Rams got out to an early lead against the Buccaneers and never looked back. Leading 29-21 at the five minute mark in the first half, the Rams started a 21 point run that didn't end until the 16 minute mark of the second half. The Rams led by over 30 points midway through the second half, but head coach Larry Eustachy decided that with a 30 point cushion, he could get walk-ons and young players some game time experience. The Ram reserves held on for a 75-54 win. Colorado State played 11 players against Charleston Southern, which is the most that coach Eustachy has put in a game so far this season.
Monday's game marked the first game for Oregon transfer guard/forward Fred Richardson III. Richardson was suspended for the first 11 games of the year for violating team rules. He scored four points in his season debut.
The leading scorer in the matchup was guard Saah Nimley of Charleston Southern with 18 points. Daniel Bejarano led Colorado State with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Stanton Kidd added 13 points and five rebounds and J.J. Avila scored 11 with five rebounds as well. Top reserve guards John Gillon and Gian Clavell added 14 and 10, respectively.
With the win, the Rams move to 12-0 on the year, continuing the best start in school history. Colorado State has one more non-conference game on Saturday, December 22nd on the road against the 4-8 New Mexico State Aggies. The matchup with the Aggies starts at 7:00 p.m. MST and can be found on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain.