Rams get first Mountain West win with 87-64 victory over visiting Air Force

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. Colorado State used several runs and an up-tempo game to pull away from visiting Air Force for an 87-64 victory Tuesday night in Moby Arena, snapping a five-game losing streak for CSU. With their first victory in conference play this year, the Rams improved to 6-10 and 1-2, while the Falcons slipped to 5-10 and 0-2 in league action.

Air Force got out to an 8-4 lead in the early going, but CSU grabbed the lead with an early inside-outside mix heavy in redshirt-junior center Nico Carvacho and freshman guard Kendle Moore that sparked a 10-0 run over the next 4:04 for a 14-8 Ram lead. CSU never relented the remainder of the half though Air Force cut it to a one-possession game on two instances, the last at 21-18, before CSU went on another surge, this one a 19-6 run to make it a 40-24 game with just under four minutes left in the first half. The teams then traded buckets late before the Rams went into the break with a 12-point lead, 44-32.

The visiting Falcons cut the margin to eight at the first media timeout, 52-44, but CSU answered with a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to take control of the game at 62-44 with 12:56 to play. The lead grew to as many as 25 down the stretch before the Rams finished with the 23-point win.

Both teams shot better than 50 percent in the game, but the extra possessions were the difference as CSU had 10 more shots from the floor from a plus-nine turnover differential, connecting on 35-of-62 field goal attempts (56.5 percent). The Rams also had a 52-38 advantage on points in the paint for the night.

Carvacho and Moore led CSU with 27 and 23 points, respectively, with the pair combining for nine assists and five steals to one turnover. Two other Rams tallied double figures as redshirt-junior Kris Martin chipped in 12 points and four assists and redshirt-senior J.D. Paige added 10 points and five assists. Air Force was led by Lavelle Scottie with 20 points, while Ryan Swan was the only other Falcon in double figures with 10.

STAT OF THE GAME
The Rams outscored the Falcons 24-0 on fast break points, many of those coming on 16 forced turnovers that CSU converted into 27 points.

IN THEIR WORDS
Head Coach Niko Medved
His thoughts on overall game
I'm really proud of our guys. That was a really good performance on so many levels tonight and a really good response. You know whenever you play Air Force, they're going to test you in a lot of ways, and guys came out with a great mind set tonight, I thought, on both ends of the floor and really got some energy going, knocked some balls loose, attacked these guys in transition. I think I saw Mike (Schiavone), our trainer, in time outs treating guys for floor burns and stuff like that, and you love to see that. That's kind of the way you have to play, so that's a good problem to have. I look at it and we had five guys with four assists or more, which is terrific as everyone was buying in to playing as a team and that's really what we talked about.

NOTES
• The Rams now lead the overall series, 79-33, including 54-22 in conference games in both schools' histories.
• CSU is now 43-11 at home against Air Force and snapped a two-game losing skid to the Falcons.
• The last time the Rams had a double-figure win over a Mountain West opponent was Feb. 10, 2018, vs. San Jose State, a 90-79 victory.
• CSU's 87 points were the third most in a game this year, while the Falcons' 64 points were the third fewest by a Rams' opponent in 2018-19.
• The 25 assists for CSU was a season high, while the 56.5 percent from the field is second on the season chart.
• Carvacho scored in double figures for the ninth straight game and 13th time this season
• Moore (5) and redshirt-junior Hyron Edwards (4) each posted season highs for assists

UP NEXT
• The Rams will play their second straight Mountain West home game, hosting rival New Mexico on Sat., Jan. 12 at 2 p.m. MT.
• The contest between will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, with Rich Waltz on play-by-play and Dan Dickau the analyst.
• The game will air across the Colorado State Sports Network (along with online at CSURams.com), with Brian Roth and Adam Nigon on the call.
• CSU Sports Network broadcasts can be also accessed on mobile devices through the TuneIn app (free on all Apple, Android, Windows, Blackberry and Amazon Kindle devices) – once downloaded, search "Colorado St. Rams Sports Network" in the app for the games and coaches' show broadcasts.