While Marcus Walker scored a quiet 12 points in his return from suspension last week against San Diego State, he made his presence known on Saturday, leading the Rams (8-13, 3-6 MWC) past the TCU Horned Frogs 71-65.
Prior to Saturday night, Walker was averaging 20.3 points per game against the Horned Frogs in his career. He made sure to stick to that trend on Saturday, as he scored a game-high 20 points, shooting 50 percent from the field to go along with his two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
“The Los Angeles Lakers in their triangle offense have a guy named Kobe Bryant,” said CSU head coach Tim Miles after the game. “We don’t have Kobe. We have Jesse (Carr) who can make some plays, and we have Marcus (Walker), who made some in the second half.”
Despite the margin of victory being six points, the game was by no means a cakewalk for CSU. What was a tie game at halftime quickly became a nine-point lead in favor of TCU (13-10, 4-5) five minutes into the second half.
That was as big of a lead as the Horned Frogs would get, as CSU junior forward Harvey Perry decided to spark a fire underneath the Rams with an intense defensive rebound over three TCU defenders and four quick points.
“I try to take a charge and hustle us back up,” Perry said. “My vertical is pretty decent, so I just tried to use my athleticism to get over their guys.”
Also having a great game for CSU was freshman Jesse Carr, who scored 16 points and tallied three steals. Carr was playing in front of about 20 fans from his hometown of Ainsworth, Neb. who made the seven-hour drive to Fort Collins to see their hometown hero help the Rams to victory.
“It’s awesome to have that support from all those people,” Carr said about his well-traveled fan club. “They’ve been following me throughout my career. I can’t thank them enough and how much they’ve helped me out my whole career. Just my whole town in general has been a huge support and I love them to death.”
Carr joked that while Ainsworth is a small town, it wasn’t the entire population in Moby Arena on Saturday, but it was most of the “rowdy crowd.”
While Carr and Walker both put on fantastic individual performances on Saturday, what was more impressive was the team effort CSU put on in terms of ball security. They turned the ball over only three times Saturday, way below their season average that’s just over 14 turnovers per game.
“We ran every time we turned the ball over at practice and we’re going to continue to run,” Miles said. “But three turnovers, no one in the country does that. That’s good stuff.”
Men’s basketball beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.