Two teams at two different levels.
The Arkansas Razorbacks came into Moby Arena with more experience as a team, as well as a winning culture which saw them in the NCAA Tournament last year, beating the Colorado State Rams with ease on Wednesday night 98-74.
Arkansas came into Fort Collins like a speeding freight train and ran through the Rams all night long. The Razorbacks started the game hot from both inside and out, jumping out to an early lead they’d never relinquish. Arkansas jumped out to the 25-13 lead and were on pace for 100 points before they slowed down a bit to end the half as the Rams defense was nowhere to be found.
As the Razorbacks went through a mini lull to end the first half, Colorado State closed the gap to only eight points, but a late 3-pointer by Keyshawn Embery-Simpson pushed it to 44-33 at the break. Arkansas hogged the rebounds, with a 25-15 advantage on the glass in the first half.
That lead quickly was extended to 20 points early on in the second half as Mason Jones hit another 3-pointer, extending his scoring to a game-high 14 at that point. The Rams were getting romped, but then they came alive.
Colorado State went on an 17-2 run, powered by a trio of 3-pointers hit by three different players and Kendle Moore’s electric fast-break layup, bringing the game to 67-60 with only 12:04 to go.
But, Arkansas responded with a 13-0 run of their own, pushing the lead back to 20 points and basically closing the door on the Rams hopes.
CSU was completely dominated on the boards, losing that battle 46-32 and they were doubled up 40-20 in the paint. It’s been the same story in all their recent losses; in the paint, both on the boards and scoring, the Rams are getting worked. Mason Jones finished with a game-high 16 points while Kendle Moore and J.D. Paige each had 16 for CSU.
“Defensively we need to be tougher, be more connected as a team,” Anthony Masinton-Bonner said after the loss.
“Tough night for us. Obviously Arkansas got out to a hot start,” head coach Niko Medved said. “I think we let our success on offense determine as a team and individually how we’re going to play defense.”
With the loss, Colorado State falls to 4-5, the first time all year and first time in Niko Medved’s tenure they’ve been below .500. Colorado State now looks to bounce back from four straight losses as they take on Sam Houston State at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday, Dec. 8.