Dec. 17, 2012
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By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State Rams improved to 7-2, defeating the North Florida Ospreys, 83-55, at Moby Arena on Monday night.
With the win, Colorado State improved its home winning streak to 18 games, which is now tied for the fourth longest active streak in the nation with Southern Mississippi.
“I was really disappointed with how we started the game, I thought we’d do better,” Head Coach Larry Eustachy said. “Once we got going I thought we played tremendous. I really feel like I finally have my head around this team and this program. I think the players finally understand exactly how we’re going to do it.”
Four separate Rams scored in double figures, with senior forward Greg Smith leading the way with 15 points on 5-9 shooting. Dorian Green and Pierce Hornung scored 13 points each, while Colton Iverson finished the game with 10 points.
Smith also finished the game with a team-high seven rebounds and five assists. Paced by Smith’s efforts, Colorado State out-rebounded North Florida, 41-23. The Rams also assisted on a season-high 22 of their 31 field goals, and shot 50.8 percent from the field, including a scorching 7-11 from the three-point line.
“We have been saying that it is harder to chase the ball than chase a dribbler,” Smith said. “As long as we do that and keep on making the next pass and getting the easier shot, we will be fine. My teammates put me in a position to make easy plays.”
The Rams started out slow, trailing by as much as eight points in the first half, but were able to find their rhythm offensively late in the first half. With just over five minutes left in the first half, sophomore guard Daniel Bejarano made a three-pointer to give CSU its first lead of the game; a lead that the Rams would not relinquish.
Bejarano hit another three-pointer just a couple minutes later to extend the lead to seven points and give CSU all the momentum it needed heading into the intermission with a 39-32 lead.
The sophomore guard gave the Rams a much needed boost off of the bench, finishing the game with eight points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes.
“When Coach (Eustachy) calls my name, I am going to be out there doing what I do best,” Bejarano said. “I’m going to be a team player and do what is best for the team.”
Energized by their strong finish in the first half, the Rams left no doubt in the second half who the better team on this night was.
Colorado State started flying around on offense and ratcheted up its defensive efforts to take complete control of the game early on in the second half. The Rams used a 12-2 run, in which they held North Florida without a field goal for 5:42, to extend an 11 point lead to 21 points with only 10 minutes left in the game.
“I think we picked up our tempo,” Green said. “We started to play with more tempo and a little bit more energy.”
While picking up the tempo on offense, CSU was able to keep control of the ball. The Rams had eight turnovers in the game, and only three in the second half. On defense, Colorado State forced the Ospreys into 15 turnovers which they turned into 23 points.
“This team can really execute on the defensive end and rebound wise,” Eustachy said. “I’ve never had a team make so many plays for such long periods of time. This is what we’re capable of.”
The Rams will host CSU Bakersfield next on Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. MT.