Dec 072004
Authors: Paul Baker, Scott Bondy

The Rams had a great all-around game as they trounced the Montana State Bobcats 78-53 in front of 2,500 fans Tuesday night at Moby Arena.

The Rams won by the largest margin this season, holding the Bobcats to only 35 percent shooting from the field.

Unlike previous games, the Rams came out firing on all cylinders. CSU shot 67 percent from the field in the first half, notching the team's highest point total in the first half this season with 48.

The Rams' shooting from the outside was impressive as they took a commanding lead of 24 into the break. Junior guard Andrew Patterson was 3-of-4 from behind the arc, and Micheal Morris went 2-of-2 from 3-point land in the first half.

"I thought that we had a great effort from the perimeter early in the game," said head coach Dale Layer.

The Rams defense was great, creating 15 turnovers and holding a third consecutive team to less than 40 percent shooting.

CSU used a matchup zone against the Bobcats, a zone that coach Layer said the team has been working on all season. The zone was effective against Auburn and now is present in every game for the Rams.

"It's not your typical zone, but it is very effective," Layer said. "It's becoming a staple for us."

The Rams also had five different players score in double figures, keeping the offense balanced. Patterson had a career night as he put up 12 points to lead all scorers. He was followed by senior Matt Williams, who had 11 points, and senior Matt Nelson, juniors Dwight Boatner and Morris, who each contributed 10 points.

"If we have three or four guys who can knock down shots we will be tough to guard," Layer said.

Montana State gave up a lot of open shots from the outside as the Bobcats constantly double- and triple-teamed the CSU post players.

Sophomore forward Stephen Verwers had a career night rebounding as he pulled down 11 rebounds in 21 minutes.

"We've been emphasizing rebounding in practice lately," Verwers said. "We were attacking the rim really strong tonight."

The Rams will now travel to Purdue on Saturday in a rematch of last year's game at Moby, which ended with the Miracle in Moby, as Morris hit two 3-point shots in the waning seconds of the game to upset the ranked Boilermakers. The game is scheduled for 10 a.m. and can be seen on ESPN Plus.

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