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Colorado State Rams beat NC State Wolfpack, move on to semifinal of NIT

It’s official, CSU is not ready to give up on the 2020-21 basketball season.

As the last Mountain West team still playing meaningful hoops, the Rams have a burden to bear trying to gain some respect from a national audience for a conference that has disappointed this postseason. Besides that, these are important games for Colorado State. Every game at this point is another chance for Niko Medved to keep building on the momentum he’s established thus far in his brief tenure at CSU.

Thursday night provided the Rams the chance to once again show thier resilience, this time against a tough opponent out of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). Coming in, NC State (14-11) was fresh off a convincing win over a good Davidson squad in the first round of the NIT. This was a team who had won 5 straight games to end a tough conference schedule, only to be bounced in the first round of the ACC tournament by Syracuse. If it’s any solace for the Wolfpack, San Diego State can certainly relate...

CSU came out of the gate ice cold from three. 1-15 in the first half to be exact. The whole squad had trouble putting the ball in the hoop, but sharpshooting forward Adam Thistlewood struggled in particular, going 0-6 from beyond the arc, 0-7 from the field overall. Fortunately, CSU’s defense was stifling. There’s a lot you can say about this Rams team, but their energy on the defensive end this year has never been in question. Because of this, they’ve generally been in every game. This time was no different, as the 28-25 deficit at halftime gave them a chance to compete in the second frame.

The final 20 minutes was a joy to watch. Just really good basketball being played by both sides. Sophomores David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens continue to impress. CSU’s two stars yet again combined high efficiency with tough finishes at the rim to carry the load on offense. Stevens ended the night with a team high 18 points, Roddy had 16 with a game high 11 rebounds, and Kendall Moore matched Roddy’s 16 points on 6 of 9 shooting. Getting a combined 50 points from your 3 best players is usually a good recipe for success.

The Rams went on a 7-0 run early in the second half to take their first lead of the game at 38-35, and then it was a back and forth affair until the final minute. There were come clutch plays down the stretch to pull this one out, none more impressive than this shot by David Roddy.

This gave CSU a 63-59 lead, essentially putting a nail in the coffin of the Wolfpack’s comeback chances.

I can’t stress this enough, these games are important. Every player on this team is expected back next year, meaning postseason experience is invaluable for these kids. Barring any setbacks, Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy have a legitimate chance of becoming the two best players in CSU program history. Seeing what these two are doing as Sophomores is incredible. It’s a testament to Niko Medved, who along with his recruiting prowess, has proven his ability to be an incredible developer of young men. The cherry on top? The best is yet to come.

The path to an NIT championship continues on Saturday, March 27 at 10:00am (!) MST on ESPN. They’ll face a tough Memphis Tigers team who’s coming off a close win against Boise State. Both teams are playing some of their best ball of the season, so it’ll be worth it to wake up early on a Saturday morning to catch this one!