FINISHING STRONG

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Mar 072010
 
Authors: Stephen Meyers

Six seniors said goodbye to Moby Arena Saturday, but none had a better farewell than the trio of Travis Busch, Mike Annese and Mame Bocar Ba.

All three played crucial roles in the Rams’ 76-67 victory over Utah.

Their performances were more critical considering the team’s stars, Andy Ogide and Dorian Green, who had subpar performances.

Busch scored 12 points and dished out three assists, Annese played full court, lock-down defense and scored seven points and Bocar Ba provided an intimidating presence in the paint while scoring nine points.

“I thought Mike Annese and Bocar were the story of the game, picking up where others were letting down a little bit,” said head coach Tim Miles.

Busch is the steady starter providing points for a guard-thin offensive unit.

Annese, the back-up point guard, who in limited minutes plays solid defense and makes timely three-pointers.

Bocar Ba is the enforcer off the bench, blocking shots and battling in the paint for every rebound.
Miles especially will miss the contributions of Bocar Ba.

“Bo delivers a blow. When people come in there, they bounce off him and he blocks shots and provides a real presence,” Miles said. “Bo is a guy that is really meaningful. We wouldn’t have won this many games without Bocar in the middle.”

Bocar Ba, native of Dakar, Senegal, transferred to CSU from the College of Southern Idaho. His nine points Saturday were a career-high.

“It’s our last home game, so we wanted to go out there and have fun,” Bocar Ba said.

Annese doesn’t play many minutes per game, but his biggest contribution is seen during practice. Annese runs the point position for the scout team –– an important role when preparing for an opponent.

“He’s been really good on the scout team,” Miles said. “I thought he was really critical for us tonight and I think he should come to my office and say, ‘Why am I not playing more?’”

A transfer from the University of Minnesota, Busch played against CSU last season. He has been vital to the team’s resurgence this year, providing leadership to a team that won only nine games last season.

He has enjoyed his only season at CSU.

“It’s awesome. There’s a lot of good guys here. I’ve been a part of a team before that’s been down in the dumps and turned it around,” Busch said. “It was special and a fun time.”

In total, six seniors said goodbye to Moby Saturday: Busch, Annese, Bocar Ba, Arin Dunn, Michael Lebsack and Harvey Perry.

All six transferred from other colleges.

“I call these guys the Statue of Liberty group. There’s guys from all over and all walks of life that have got together. And they bid on us when nobody else was,” Miles said. “They’re here when there’s no tradition. They were coming to play for coach Miles when it was 0-16 in the league. It didn’t look promising.”

Now the team heads to Las Vegas for the MWC Championships as the fifth seed with hopes of making a three-game run, which would land them as a Cinderella team in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rams (16-14, 7-9 MWC) will face San Diego State Thursday.
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Men’s Basketball Beat Reporter Stephen Meyers can be reached at sports@collegian.com._

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