Dec. 8, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Six players finished in double-figures scoring for the Rams, who eclipsed the 100-point mark for the first time under head coach Larry Eustachy, as the Colorado State men’s basketball team got back on the winning track with a 109-55 victory over Southwestern Oklahoma State in front of 3,044 fans at Moby Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams responded after suffering a tough loss to rival Colorado on Tuesday, pouring in the fourth-highest point total in program history, and reaching the century mark for the first time in almost eight years, dating back to a 106-80 victory over UCCS on Dec. 28, 2005.
“Today our main goal was to keep improving,” said sophomore guard Joe De Ciman who poured in a career-high 15 points including a trio of daggers from three-point range. “We wanted to focus on us and not the other team; focus on our principles, foundations, and getting better every possession.”
The Rams (7-3) did just that against the outmatched Bulldogs (4-3), who play in the NCAA Division II Great American Conference, led by J.J. Avila who scored 27 points in just 19 minutes of action with an incredibly efficient stat line that included 11-of-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
"The big question was how we were going to respond after such a tough loss after Colorado,” said Head Coach Larry Eustachy. “I knew we would respond well based off of our practice and our character.”
Avila and De Ciman were joined in double-figures scoring by starting backcourt mates Jon Octeus (14 points) and Daniel Bejarano (10), as well as 10 each from reserve guard Josh Morgan (career high) and David Cohn. Both Cohn and Morgan shot connected on a pair of three-pointers for the Rams.
As a team, the Rams shot 63.2 percent (36-of-57) from the field and knocked down 10-of-18 three-point attempts, leading wire-to-wire and nearly doubling the Bulldogs’ offensive output.
SWOSU was paced by forward Michael Bradley who tallied 10 points on 3-of-10 shooting and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.
The Rams played extremely unselfishly in the game, notching 26 assists on 36 made field goals in the contest. Bejarano led the way with six helpers. Octeus dished four assists, matching freshman Carlton Hurst who notched a career-high. Senior forward Gerson Santo also posted a career-high assist total with three, matching Avila.
CSU also recorded a healthy rebounding edge in the contest, winning the battle of the boards by a 47-21 margin thanks to a career-high rebounding totals by Hurst (9 rebounds) and Marcus Holt (8).
Sophomore guard Mike Burnett also posted several career-highs in the contest, bests with six points, two rebounds and four free-throws in a career-most six minutes of action.
The Rams led wire-to-wire in the contest, opening the scoring with an Avila three-pointer just 17 seconds in the game. The lead ballooned to 24 points at halftime, 52-28, but the Rams opened the second half on an 11-0 run to push the lead into the 30s. A 10-0 run from the 12:50 mark of the second to the 10:44 mark pushed he advantage to 46, 83-37, and an 8-0 run between 7:47 and 6:19 gave the Rams a 50-point cushion they would never relinquish en route to the team’s largest margin of victory since setting the school record with a 61-point win (108-47) vs. Northern Colorado on Nov. 20, 1997.
The Rams return to the court this Wednesday night, hosting in-state rival Denver at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain, and will air across the Colorado State Radio Network including flagship 105.5 ESPN Radio and sister station 102.3 ESPN.
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