Nov. 14, 2008
Final Stats |
By John Manuszak
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – What a difference a year makes.
A year after opening the season with a 75-39 blowout loss at Montana, the Rams returned the favor on Friday night as Colorado State opened the 2008-09 season with a resounding 85-55 win over the Grizzlies in front of 2,964 fans at Moby Arena.
“New lineups, new season, we expect different results,” said Head Coach Tim Miles. “I thought the kids guarded real well, especially the opening 30 minutes. We did enough on offense. Once we were able to get relaxed, we were OK.”
The difference between the two years was remarkably different, even the game’s opening period. In the first half, the Rams scored 39 points – the same total they had in the entire game in Missoula last season. But defensively was where the Rams dominated the game.
They held the Grizzlies to .377 shooting (23-61), including .276 (8-29) from the field in the first half. The Rams forced Montana into 10 first-half turnovers, including a shot-clock violation at the 8-minute mark that brought the Rams bench and crowd to their feet.
“The guys really guarded tonight and that’s how we stayed up at halftime,” said Miles. “I thought we were aggressive defensively and that got us going on the offensive end.”
Offensively, the returning senior backcourt of Marcus Walker (17 points, three assists) and Willis Gardner (10 points on 5-8 shooting) received some help from several of the new Rams. Sophomore Andy Ogide was dominant inside as he posted his first career double-double with 20 points on 6-8 shooting and 8-10 from the line. He also added a game-high 14 rebounds. Meanwhile, freshman guard Jesse Carr was terrific in his first collegiate game. He tallied nine points on 2-2 from the field and 4-4 from the line in the first half on his way to finishing with 14 points on 2-3 shooting from the field and 9-10 from the line. He also added six rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.
The center tandem of Dan Vandervieren and Mame Bocar Ba was a big presence for the Rams in the middle. Vandervieren posted six points on 3-3 shooting and grabbed two rebounds in 8 minutes while Bocar Ba grabbed three rebounds in 18 minutes.
“There were some jitters playing my first game,” said Carr. “But I went out there with a team mentality. Our coaches got us prepared and we were able to get a win. Marcus talked to me before the game and that helped me stay focused on the game.”
The Rams blew the game open as they opened the second half on a 10-3 run that put CSU up 49-23 just 2:51 into the period. The Rams led by at least 19 points throughout the second half and pushed their lead to a game-high 37 points with 4:15 left in the game.
In the first half, CSU jumped out to a 14-6 lead thanks to a pair of Ogide baskets and back-to-back three-pointers by Andre McFarland and Walker. Those hoops would spark a 14-4 run that gave the Rams a 25-10 lead. With the Rams holding a 32-18 lead, Carr hit a layup and then a three-pointer over a 50-second span, giving the Rams a 35-20 lead just 3 minutes before intermission.
The Rams will next be in action on Tuesday night as they play host to local rival Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. MT. The Bears beat CSU last season, 72-59, in Greeley.