Feb 202005
Authors: Jon Pilsner

Did I miss something?

When did basketball at CSU become fun again?

It was exciting. It was up-tempo. Dare I say it was exhilarating?!

But only 3,177 lucky folks got to share in the celebration at 9:28 p.m. Saturday night.

With a 93-89 win over San Diego State, the CSU men's basketball team proved to itself and the world that it could play exciting basketball, score more than 55 points and win a conference game.

It seemed like a breath of fresh air had entered Moby Arena. The Whale was rockin'. And the players noticed.

"A big part (of the game) was being at home," said senior forward Matt Williams. "It helps us keep up the energy when we get tired."

That energy was important. Five Rams played more than 30 minutes. Those five were most responsible for the win.

"We feed off the energy so much," said freshman sensation Jason Smith, who is often one of the most vocal players on the floor.

Despite the controversy – the Web site dedicated to firing Dale Layer, the fan critics and the frustration – the Rams threw a giant monkey off their backs. And regardless of the questions that still surround them, they showed they haven't given up.

That is something that should be commended.

Coach Dale Layer is going to be the coach next year. Athletic director Mark Driscoll has assured that. Hoping, or chanting, for Layer to be fired will do nothing but waste perfectly good oxygen.

But there is still something the fans can do. There are still 14 players who could use the support. They're students, just like you and me, and they feed off that energy. A loud crowd is sometimes as important as shooting or rebounding.

Wyoming (which visits Moby this Saturday) always travels well to CSU. The Cowboys put 10,000 plus in Laramie's Arena-Auditorium when the Rams visited last month, and you can bet they will fill every empty Moby seat the fans leave them.

What's more embarrassing: losing a basketball game or getting kicked out of our own area by a bunch of Laramie cow-freaks?

Unlike football, any basketball team, at any time, at any moment, can make a run. Two years ago, the Rams got on a run. It ended with a game against Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

So, it's not even close to being over.

There are two games and the tournament left. You need proof that fans are a part of the team?

Ask the players. Williams and Smith summed up the fan support Saturday night in one phrase:

"It's huge."

Jon Pilsner is a junior technical journalism major. He is the assistant sports editor for the Collegian.

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