Rams extend home streak in big way
Nov. 15, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – The Colorado State men’s basketball team hasn’t lost at home in nearly a year, and by the opening minutes of Thursday’s game against Chadron State, there was little doubt that the team would keep the streak alive.
The Rams (2-0) stormed out to a 24-2 lead and held a 43-13 halftime advantage, before eventually blowing past the Eagles (0-2), 93-50, to run the program’s home-court win streak to 15 straight games. The streak is now the longest for the Rams since Moby Arena became the program’s home in 1966.
“We knew that we had to come out and play hard and play how we play,” said senior forward Greg Smith. “It doesn’t matter who we are playing against, we are going to play with the same mindset every time.”
That mindset has helped the Rams throughout the streak, which now ties for the team’s second-longest all-time behind a 22-game home streak set from 1960-62 when the Rams called South College Gym home.
“(Jumping out to a big lead) is something that comes from playing hard,” added Smith. “We made a lot of good plays early.”
Eleven different players saw action for the Rams in the contest, and nearly everyone contributed in significant way as the Rams’ bench outscored the Eagles 48-26.
“It is human nature to get a big lead and get complacent,” said Head Coach Larry Eustachy. “That’s what really good teams do is keep playing. If you’re that type of team where you are playing the opponent like we played tonight you should keep pushing it. The new guys came in and did the same thing, so it was good.”
For the second-straight game to open the season five different Rams scored in double figures, led by an 18-point, nine-rebound effort from senior center Colton Iverson, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week.
Smith added 14 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Rams, but it was the play of newcomer Jon Octeus at the point guard position that really got the team in a flow.
“It thought he was terrific,” said Eustachy of Octeus’ performance. “He was really disappointed in how he played against Montana. I really challenged him after the game.”
Octeus, who tallied 13 points and a game-high five assists, led all players with 31 minutes after replacing senior starter Dorian Green just seconds into the contest.
Green kept his own streak of consecutive starts (98) alive after his status was initially in doubt because of a mild concussion suffered near the end of the Rams’ opener vs. Montana.
“I just thought it was the right thing to do,” said Eustachy of starting Green. “It’s kind of a Cal Ripken thing, it really is. It’s a phenomenal thing. He deserved it.”
“He’s been cleared, but still has to do a couple of tests. We anticipate him being back Saturday for practice and he’ll definitely play against Denver,” added Eustachy.
Also scoring in double-figures for the Rams were senior forward Pierce Hornung, who narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine boards, and junior forward Gerson Santo who notched 12 points and seven rebounds.
“Gerson was terrific,” said Eustachy. “You can see where length bothers teams like we just played and there will be teams in our league that we put those two guys (Santo and Iverson) out there together, and it will bother them.”
Chadron State was led by David Downey who tallied 15 points in the contest, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
The Rams will take tomorrow off before returning to the court for a Saturday practice. CSU’s next contest is scheduled for Wednesday, when the team travels south to Magness Arena for a tilt against in-state rival Denver. Tipoff between the Rams and the Pioneers is set for 7 p.m. MT and the game will be televised live on ROOT SPORTS.