The Colorado State Rams came into this game and season with a few worries. How was the scoring going to be replaced? Would the defense that was absent last year, appear again? Who would step up as a leader to replace Gian Clavell?
Some of these questions got answered and some are still there. The leadership role looks to still be unsettled but may be filled as the season goes on. The defense appeared and the scoring is still questionable.
The first half was all Aggies. They came out firing and played fast. What kept the Rams in the game were silly fouls by the Aggies and good foul shooting by the Rams. In fact one good argue that the free throw line is where the Rams won the game.
The second half is where the Rams took control. The defense played hard, forced tough shots, and didn’t allow many easy baskets. The offense took their time, found the right shots, and didn’t force shots. If the Rams play like they did in the second half of this game all year, the Rams could surprise some teams.
The Rams didn’t shoot well at all. Overall they shot just 33.3% and were 1-14 from the 3 point line. A sharp departure from last year. The Rams did help themselves at the free throw line where they went 25-31. Braden Koelliker was the Rams leader here, going 13-15 from the line (for comparison the Aggies as a team, went 11-14).
Newcomers Koelliker and Che Bob were the clear leaders on the floor for the Rams this afternoon. Koelliker finished one rebound shy of a double-double, 21 points and 9 rebounds (6 offensive). Bob was the energizer bunny for the Rams. Whenever he was on the court the Rams seemed to pick it up. He finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds.
The Rams as a whole played well, but not near good enough as they know they can be. They played to the Aggies strength just a little too much. But they also played to their strengths. The out rebounded the Aggies 47-35. They forced the Aggies to take unnecessary shots early in the shot clock and the Rams frustrated the Aggies all night long.
The Rams will need to step it up offensively if they want to have a successful season. They won’t be able to rely on the free-throw line all year.
The Rams get a chance to work out some kinks in the team as they play Division 2 Fort Lewis on Wednesday before heading to Stanford next Sunday.