It’s been a long season for the Colorado State Rams men’s basketball team and they could have rolled over on Tuesday night against a slightly better Air Force Falcons team.

Instead, the Rams’ seniors John Tonje and Isiah Stevens pushed their teammates to a 69-53 victory by scoring a combined 41 points.

Stevens led the way in the first half, scoring 12 of his 20 points in the first 14 minutes of the game. He was white-hot to start the contest, hitting his first five shots, and then did what a point guard does best in assisting teammates to close the half.

While it was close early, Colorado State went on a 7-0 run to close out the first period and take a 32-26 lead at the break.

Air Force, who came in with a better record than the Rams, wouldn’t go away in the second half. They kept it close for most of that period until CSU started to pull away with 12:03 left in the game. At that point, Joe Palmer’s 3-pointer pushed Colorado State’s lead to 16.

Beau Becker and Corbin Green of the Falcons tried to keep the home team in the contest, but they couldn’t match Tonje’s second-half scoring; he put up 12 points in the second half alone. Air Force was able to get the lead back into single digits with just under 8 minutes to play, but the Rams roared back and led by as much as 19.

Colorado State shot much better from downtown then they had in recent games, making 45% (5-11) from 3-point land while also winning the rebound battle 31-23. Stevens and Tonje hit four of those 3-pointers.

“We came into this program and those guys had to go through it too,” head coach Niko Medved said of Stevens and Tonje’s growth in the program per Luke Zahlmann of the Gazette. “There’s only one way to get experience and it’s by getting experience (with games).”

Medved went onto explain he sees the Falcons as a developing program which will be tougher to deal with in the near future.

Meanwhile, Medved’s Rams broke a 5-game losing streak with their win over Air Force. That had to feel great, especially with a week off now before they play Boise State on Wednesday, Feb. 15 with an 8 p.m. MT tip-off at Moby Arena.

Colorado State (11-14, 3-9 MW) has moved out of the basement of the Mountain West Conference but face a strong Boise State squad (18-6, 8-3 MW). The last time the two teams met 11 days ago, the Broncos blew out the Rams 80-59.