After its 64-50 win over Western State Saturday, ending the preseason with a 2-0 record, CSU still has to improve in one of basketball’s fundamentals: free throw shooting.
The Rams only converted 48.6 percent (18 of 37) of their shots from the charity stripe this weekend.
“My mom is going to kill me,” head coach Tim Miles said.
Miles said his mother was mad at him after the first exhibition game, a 74-65 victory over Regis, in which the team shot 68 percent (17-25) from the free throw line. “Free throws are mental. It’s catchy. One guy misses, and the next guy misses,” Miles said.
Forward Andy Ogide and guards Harvey Perry and Dorian Green were the only three players to shoot more than 50 percent from the line Saturday. Ogide (five of nine), Perry (five of seven) and Green (two of two), were the Rams’ top three scorers.
Green led all players with 16 points, Perry finished with 14 in his first appearance of the season and Ogide chipped in 13.
The Rams used lock-down defense in the second half to stifle the Mountaineers after only holding a one-point lead at halftime. CSU held Western State without a field goal for the first 5:28 of the second half to push their lead to 13.
“We came out of the half and did a much better job than we did against Regis,” Miles said. “That was key.”
The Rams never looked back after building up its lead early in the second half, never letting it slip below 12. Their lead swelled to as big as 24 with 4:45 to play.
“I told them we needed to come out hard in the first minutes and build a lead,” Miles said. “They did just that.”
The Rams flexed their muscles and athleticism over the D-II Mountaineers to out-rebound Western State 43-25, including 19-3 on the offensive glass.
Freshman Pierce Hornung snatched 12 rebounds to lead the Rams.
“He has a great nose for the ball,” Miles said of Hornung.
Perry also grabbed 11 rebounds for a double-double.
CSU forced 11 steals, coming from seven different players.
Saturday was the final tune up before the regular season, which begins Friday in Eugene, Ore. at the Basketball Travelers Tip-Off Tournament.
The Rams open against UC-Davis and will also play Winston-Salem and Oregon in the three-day event.
Men’s basketball beat reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.