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
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.