Dec. 28, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - Led by the excellent play of junior forward J.J. Avila and junior guard Daniel Bejarano, the Colorado State Rams (9-4) concluded its non-conference schedule with an 86-71 victory over the Lamar Cardinals (1-11) at Moby Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Avila and Bejarano provided the Rams with a devastating two-headed monster on Saturday afternoon, combining for 52 of Colorado State's 86 points. Avila poured in a career-high 33 points on 14-of-17 shooting and added eight rebounds and four assists. To start the game, Avila connected on his first 13 shots, setting a new Mountain West record for most consecutive made field goals to start a game. The previous record was 12 shots set by former Colorado State player Colton Iverson, who set the record at Wyoming on March 6, 2013.
While Avila was making everything in sight, Bejarano was making his impact in all aspects of the game. The junior guard tied a career high with 19 points, and set new career highs with 18 rebounds and seven assists to help lead the Rams.
"It was very impressive what they both were able to do today," Head Coach Larry Eustachy said of Avila and Bejarano. "We need those guys to score. 18 rebounds just jumps out at me; anytime anyone does that at that size, I was pleased."
Sophomore guard Joe De Ciman also scored in double figures with 12 points, as Colorado State shot 51 percent from the field for the game.
"Joe is a great example of what it is all about," Eustachy said of De Ciman. "We'd be in a lot of trouble without him. You kind of expect it with those other guys, but Joe just continues to amaze me."
From the opening tip, the Rams had control of the game as they led for the entire duration after scoring on the very first possession of the game. CSU used a 19-6 run right out of the gate to jump out to a comfortable double-digit lead on Lamar five minutes into the game.
As has been a key recipe for success for Colorado State under Eustachy's tenure, the Rams controlled the glass and out-rebounded the Cardinals 46-31, including 16-8 on offensive rebounds. This proved to be a crucial component for CSU's success as both teams emphasized taking care of the ball. Colorado State had just eight turnovers in the game, while Lamar had only nine. The Rams protected the basket better however, registering five blocks, as they outscored the Cardinals 44-34 in the paint.
Down by double-digits for much of the first half, Lamar cut the lead down to nine points in the first minute of the second half, but CSU quickly responded with a basket from Avila on its next possession to bring the lead back up to 11 points. CSU extended its lead to as much as 20 points en route to the 15-point victory on Saturday.
Colorado State now heads into its Mountain West schedule with a 9-4 record and will open things up with a highly-anticipated contest against No. 20 San Diego State on Wednesday night at Moby Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. MT and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.