The Colorado State men’s basketball team was at the Top of the World for about a week, but they may have been knocked down a bit on Saturday after its 73-53 loss on the road at Stanford.
Still, the Rams (3-2) certainly rebounded over the Thanksgiving break from a tough season-opening loss to Montana by winning the BP Top of the World Classic last Sunday in Fairbanks, Ala., before losing to Stanford (6-1), who just recently fell out of the Top 25 after an upset loss to Sienna.
The Rams won the title of the Top of the World Classic is thrilling fashion. The Rams never led in the game against Portland State until Stuart Creason scored the game-winning basket with 15 seconds left gave the Rams a 64-63 win.
Creason, the Rams senior center who scored 17 points and collected 10 rebounds in the final, was named MVP of the tournament, and junior guard Willis Gardner’s 21 points led all scorers in the game.
Rams junior guard Marcus Walker joined Creason on the all-tournament team. Walker stepped up big in getting the Rams to the tournament final, as he scored a tournament record 43 points in the Rams 87-68 semifinal win over Tennessee State. The 43 points were also the most points scored by a Ram in over 30 years.
The opening game of the tournament saw Gardner lead the Rams with 20 points while Creason recorded a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds during the Rams 69-56 over Oregon State.
Following the tournament CSU was riding high after their emotional championship game victory, which saw the Rams rush onto the court at the final buzzer and cut down the nets, and coach Tim Miles felt it may have contributed to their loss at Stanford.
“The team had a hangover, so to speak, from experiencing success. We talked about it during the week, but sometimes it takes a whippin’ like this to get through,” said Miles following the game. *this is from CSU website, wasn’t sure on attribution.
The Rams shot only 25.9 percent in the first half of the game as they fell behind the Cardinal 34-15 halftime lead. CSU played better in the second half, as the Cardinal only outscored the Rams 39-38 to close out the game.
Gardner led the Rams with 14 points and Walker scored 13, while Creason was held to just eight points by the tough Stanford defense.
The Rams are eager to get back on track, finally getting a regular season home game at Moby Arena Wednesday when they take on an experienced Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Miles thinks it will be another tough test for his Rams, and he wants fans to come out to support his team.
“I think it’ll be a really fair game, a close one, and I hope our fans come out and support our guys,” Miles said. “They need a little pick-me-up right now. I know they can’t wait to get back and perform in front of those Moby Maniacs,” Miles said.
Sports writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.