Isaiah Stevens scored 15 points and 20th-ranked Colorado State remained unbeaten following a lengthy layoff with a 67-59 victory over visiting Air Force on Tuesday night in Fort Collins, Colo.
Playing their first game since Dec. 11, when they rallied to beat Mississippi State, the Rams (11-0, 1-0 Mountain West) remained one of three unbeaten teams in the nation — along with top-ranked Baylor and No. 7 USC.
Stevens shot 5 of 14 and missed 4 of 5 3-point shots as Colorado State won despite shooting 40.4 percent — 30.4 percent (7-of-23) from 3-point range — against Air Force’s zone defense.
David Roddy, the Mountain West’s leading scorer, notched a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Roddy started 1 of 5 but scored nine points in the final 20 minutes, including a dunk in the final minute that essentially clinched Colorado State’s seventh straight win over Air Force.
Air Force (8-5, 1-1 MWC) was without leading scorer A.J. Walker, as well as Joseph Octave and Lucas Moerman, due to COVID-19 protocols.
Freshman Ethan Taylor helped the Falcons compensate for Walker’s absence by leading all scorers with 19 points. Carter Murphy added 13 while Jake Heidbreder and Camden Vander Zwagg added 12 apiece.
Air Force shot 52.3 percent and hit 10 3-pointers, but the Falcons got no points from their thin bench (the Rams’ bench scored 29) and were outrebounded 33-23 while turning the ball over 14 times.
Air Force started quickly, scoring the game’s first seven points and opening a 21-16 lead on a 3-pointer by Heidbreder with 8:24 left in the half.
Colorado State’s offense heated up by scoring 14 straight points in a span of 4:23. The Rams took a 30-21 lead on John Tonje’s 3-pointer with 3:39 left. Air Force was within 33-28 at halftime when Vander Zwaag hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left.
Colorado State held a 48-39 lead on two free throws by James Moors with 14:15 remaining, but Air Force came right back with a 9-0 run. The Falcons evened the game at 48 on a 3-pointer by Murphy with 10:58 left.
The Rams took a 60-52 lead when Tonje hit a contested corner 3-pointer and finished off a four-point play with 5:12 remaining. Roddy finished off a dunk around Nikc Jackson with 54 seconds left to make it 64-56.
–Field Level Media