Rams pummel West Alabama

Dec 032002
Authors: Jason Graziadei

Leaving no doubt which team plays in Division I, the CSU men’s basketball team

easily dispatched Division II West Alabama Tuesday night in Moby Arena, cruising to

an 82-50 victory.

The win moved CSU to 5-2 on the season, and the match-up against a lower-division

team was a welcome treat after two tough losses on the road to quality opponents.

“Going into the game, we knew that if we played hard we would probably come out with

a win,” Rams’ head coach Dale Layer said. “I thought it was a good teaching game

and I thought our team got better as a result of it. Tonight our effort and intensity were

there and when that happens, good things usually follow.”

The Rams never trailed in the game and were able to shut down West Alabama’s

offense, holding the Tigers to a dismal 25 percent from the field. The Rams, on the

other hand, had five players score in double digits and shot a season-high 59 percent

from the field.

“We were all a little tired after the road trip, so it was good to get back home and get a

win under our belt, so hopefully we can keep our streak alive at home,” sophomore

forward Matt Williams said of his team’s six-game home win streak. Williams finished

with 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists. “It’s kind of another practice for us, I

guess, we didn’t need to come out and showboat, we needed to run our stuff to get

better for the season.”

It was the senior tandem of Andy Birley and Brian Greene who set the pace for the

Rams. Despite playing with an injured hand, Greene scored eight points and hauled in

11 rebounds in the first half, and finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, marking his

eighth career double-double.

Birley took over for his fellow senior after the half, scoring 14 of his 17 points in the

second period by connecting on four of five three-pointers.

“We were definitely more athletic than they were and I think we overmatched them

tonight,” Birley said. “It’s definitely good to get our confidence back up after some

tough losses.”

From the beginning, the Rams controlled nearly all aspects of the game. After a slow

start for both teams, CSU jumped out to a 10-3 lead and slowly extended that

advantage throughout the game. The Rams lead 40-17 at the half, and an early

second period run allowed Layer to get some bench players in the game and

experiment with different combinations of players.

The Tigers were led by junior point guard Raspanti Laneair, who had 10 points, and

junior forward Richard Stone, who finished with nine points, three rebounds and two

steals. Although humbled by the lopsided score, the Tigers’ players valued the

experience of playing Division I competition.

“It’s going to help us in the regular season, playing against teams like CSU right now,

but there’s no reason to play the way we played,” Stone said. “They ran their offense

to perfection, they played hard and they were way bigger than us. We couldn’t stop

them and they’re well coached- that’s all I can possibly say.”

The win marked the first game of a six-game home stand for CSU at Moby Arena.

The Rams will play Gardner-Webb at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

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