It was a tale of two halves for Colorado State hoops on Tuesday.
With Southern Illinois in town, the Rams and Salukis went wild on the offensive end, at least in the first half. CSU went cold after the break, though, and SIU took off for the 82-67 win.
The first half was highlighted by hot shooting by both teams; SIU made 62.1 percent from the floor while Colorado State hit 59.3 percent of their shots. When the Rams were at their best — making 6-9 to start from downtown — they shared the ball well. Though, where the Rams were out-played was on the boards, where SIU had the 14-8 advantage.
But in the second half, the Rams went cold. They scored a mere 11 points in the first 10 minutes and SIU took advantage. With the help of center Kavion Pippen — nephew of Scottie — scoring inside, the Salukis went on a 9-2 run to push their lead to 14, 67-53 with 8:33 to play. SIU continued to hit the boards harder than Colorado State — out-rebounding the Rams 34-16 — and they kept hitting shots, too.
The Rams went a mere 3-9 from downtown in the second half and shot only 38.1 percent from the floor after halftime, struggling all around. After starting the season with three straight double-doubles, Nico Carvacho has none in his last four games. Kris Martin’s 15 led the Rams, and Anthony Masinton-Bonner also had 15.
“Lack of toughness in the paint,” Bonner said after the loss. “Lack of toughness and heart tonight.”
“I think this one’s pretty simple, we got exposed tonight really for where we’re at on the defensive end,” head coach Niko Medved said. “Our message to our team from Day One, I think our success this year or chance to have success, is really related to that end of the floor. We’ve got to get better on that way to have an opportunity. And clearly that didn’t show up.”
Colorado State, after starting a perfect 3-0, are now 4-3 on the season with their rivalry matchup against CU coming on Saturday (1 p.m. MT in Boulder).