CSU men’s basketball got out to a rough start, and trailed by double-digits, but the Rams charged back as they were led by newcomer Joel Scott and beat Louisiana Tech 81-73 in game one.

Colorado State was smacked in the mouth by the Bulldogs early. La Tech jumped out to as much as a six-point lead in the first half before key free throws by Isaiah Stevens helped bring the game closer. But the Bulldogs still led the Rams 34-33 at halftime.

And then Louisiana Tech went wild out of the break. They hit seven straight shots, led by Tahlik Chavez’s six points, and pushed their lead to 11 with 14:08 left in regulation.

That’s when the Rams went on a 23-2 run and not only took the lead back, but pushed their own advantage to 11 points. This time, with only 4:29 to go.

The entire starting five was involved in that massive run, showing chemistry despite all the newcomers. Scott proved to everyone his game does indeed translate from the DII level to DI. Last year, the 6’8″ forward led Black Hills State with 23.0 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. In fact, he earned DII National Player of the Year. Considering the talent difference from DII to DI, some wondered if he could hang.

Well, Scott led all Rams scorers with 18, making 6–9 from the field, and added four rebounds.

And on that massive second half run, Stevens, Patrick Cartier, and newcomer Nique Clifford each advanced into double-digit scoring numbers. On the night, those four starters came up huge, while Josiah Strong and Jalen Lake contributed as well.

The Rams were out-rebounded 39-23, but that was due to a defensive shift made by head coach Niko Medved which led to defenders clogging passing lanes and helped CSU come back.

“I don’t want to try it again if possible. I don’t like doing that,” Medved said per CSU. “I just kept telling them, ‘Guys, just one possession at a time. Just win this possession and find a way to get a stop.’ We had to be more connected as a team.”

CSU men’s basketball leader and point guard Stevens liked the way his new group of teammates came together.

“The fact that we were able to all stay connected—and we were preaching that at halftime—stay together, it’s a long game,” Stevens explained.

The Rams’ team motto is Team Together, after all.

And one game into the season, there’s evidence what can happen when they do stay together.

CSU men’s basketball (1-0) hosts Wright State on Friday, Nov. 10 with a 7 p.m. MT tip.