Men’s basketball coach Dale Layer’s 50th win at CSU came with
ease Saturday night.
After some sloppy play in the first few minutes, backup point
guard Dwight Boatner and the CSU bench ignited a 21-4 run and the
Rams (4-2) coasted to a 89-59 win against the outmatched
Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (2-5).
“(Boatner) was terrific there to finish the first half,” Layer
said. “His energy was very good.”
Boatner, a freshman from Lake Charles, La., scored all 10 points
and had three steals in seven first half minutes. Five Rams
finished the game in double figures, including 17 points from
center Matt Nelson and from forward Matt Williams.
Williams, who Layer said CSU counts on as a strong contributor
inside, only averaged 5.6 points a game on just 36 percent shooting
in CSU’s first five games. Layer responded by taking Williams out
of the starting lineup.
“That’s what I expect from Matt,” Layer said of Williams’
17-point performance. “He is now meeting expectations. He just
wasn’t playing with confidence.”
Williams said after he got off to a slow start, he thought about
his slump too much, but Saturday he was focused.
“If I can keep playing like this, I’ll be all right,” Williams
The Rams played virtual error-free basketball after the first
few minutes of the game. CSU committed only 11 turnovers and 10
fouls against the Bulldogs, a far cry from their season averages of
23 turnovers and 24 fouls.
“Handling the ball was better tonight,” Layer said. “(But) we
came out a little flat.”
Nelson turned the ball over on the first two Ram possessions and
Gardner-Webb led 8-3 with 15:09 left in the first half before
forward Freddie Robinson hit a 3-pointer to start the Rams’
Boatner made his third steal of the first half and took the ball
in for a layup as time ran out in the first half to give the Rams a
Gardner-Webb, a private Baptist university from Boling Springs,
N.C., in their fourth year in Division I, stayed even with CSU for
most of the second half but never got closer than the 16-point
The Bulldogs lived and died by 3-pointers, hitting 8-of-26 from
long distance. The Rams were much more successful, hitting 7-of-11
3-pointers and shooting 55.2 percent from the floor for the
CSU is 50-47 in three-plus years under Layer, but 23-2 when
scoring 80 points or more.
Next up for the Rams is in-state rival Colorado on Wednesday
night at Moby Arena. The Rams have lost three straight games to CU,
including a 93-72 beating in Boulder last season. Layer said the
Buffaloes are a very talented team and will be a handful to try and
contain. However, the players said they are ready for the
“(The win) is fun, but we’ve also have to learn,” said point
guard Micheal Morris. “We got another big one coming up.”