The CSU Rams may be mired in an11-game struggle, but you can’t knock their hustle.
Playing with only six scholarship athletes and using a bench rotation of just eight players, CSU is shorthanded against every team it faces.
With the odds stacked against them, it is entirely possible that the Rams could fold and mail in the rest of the season, but they aren’t doing that.
“I grew up Catholic and I know how to assign guilt, but we got about as much out of our group of guys as is possible (in Wednesday’s 66-64 loss to TCU),” said coach Tim Miles. “They gave such a great effort out there and you could tell by the amount of sweat that was on their jerseys and on the floor. It is tough right now, but this kind of effort in such difficult times shows we can be part of something greater.”
Walk-on Adam Nigon has played started consistently, and due to the Rams’ recent rash of injuries, fellow senior walk-on David Cohen has seen his playing time increase exponentially, and he has answered the call.
“I just tell you how proud and thankful that (Cohen) has performed so well for us. I love his approach and focus on detail. He has been great for us all season in practice, and it was good to see him do it in a game,” Miles said . “He had to fight through 65 guys at a tryout before this season, and he has great for the team.”
The Rams are hoping to get some good news on the injury front, as they will see if guard Willis Gardner’s shoulder can hold up, but it isn’t likely that he will be able to go.
The Rams struggled to hold onto the ball while facing a TCU team that used a high pressure defense to challenge them, and now the Rams return home to face Air Force, whose style of play couldn’t be more different.
The Falcons are led by senior guard Tim Anderson, who scores 14.5 points per game. He had a big game earlier this season against the Rams with 26 points in the Falcons’ 75-59 win.
“We know that Air Force is going to come in here with their Princeton offense and great defense. They always present a very different challenge, but we have seen it before,” Miles said.
Players were unavailable for comment.
Sports writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.