21. Colorado State Rams – 9-1
After three straight wins over Creighton, Colorado, and Washington, Colorado State was not only ranked but on the national radar as a potential contender to deal with in March. However, injuries have started to rack up for the team, with two rotation players out for a period of time. Josiah Strong and Jalen Lake not only combined to average around 15 ppg, but they’re two of the better defenders on this team.
The absences were felt in the past week. In the first game against Denver, it turned into an unexpected close shootout, with the Rams needing a 55-point second-half effort to escape with a 90-80 victory. Forward Patrick Cartier led the way with 19 pts, while star guard Isaiah Stevens had 18 pts and 9 asts. Nique Clifford also had 15 pts and 7 asts in the close call.
Up next was a home game against Saint Mary’s, who was surprisingly 4-5 after a slow start to the season. But the Gaels are always dangerous and capable and showed it on Saturday, leading for a good part of the second half and being able to hold on for a 64-61 upset win. Stevens had 20 pts, while Cartier (16 pts) and Clifford (15 pts and 11 rebs) were the only other real contributors. As a team, the Rams shot just 37% from the field.
Colorado State has some time to heal up, not playing another this week before a game against a non-DI opponent in Colorado State-Pueblo. The hope is that the Rams can get healthier for the December 22nd matchup against LMU, which will be on the road.