Chad Adams 1st start
The first half started normally enough, there was a jump ball, the Lobos scored first, the Rams scored next. What followed was somewhat different. The Lobos set their aggressive tone early when Drew Gordon hit the court for a loose ball forty six seconds into the game. Phillip McDonald was the only bench player not wearing a warm up suit on the bench starting the game. I thought he wanted to be ready and expected to go in at any time. When he did go in at about the 16 minute mark, he was ready to go taking his first shot in 50 seconds and becoming the leading scorer within 6 minutes.
The shot that gave him the lead also lead to the crowd coming alive for the first time. Alex Kirk started it with a blocked shot that was caught by Gordon and taken up court by Dairese Gary who passed to McDonald for a dunk putting the Lobos up 15-9. They then traded baskets until a hockey game broke out at the 6:17 mark when the Lobos tried for a good old fashioned Power Play. There were 6 Lobos on the court at one time leading to a technical foul. The players who did not communicate ended up sitting on the bench. The Lobos then extended their lead to 11 points before the half.
Then with 1 second left, lights started flashing in The Pit and a nice voice came over the PA telling us to vacate the arena. It was time for a fire drill. So halftime consisted of leaving the Pit and entering the Pit. The last second of the first half was played, two minutes were allowed to pass then the second half started. What a game and what a half. No player on the CSU team had more than one field goal in the first half. The Lobos led the Rams in all positive statistics although CSU shot more free throws and the Lobos had more turnovers.
The second half didn't measure up to the first half for odd things happening but it made up for that with clutch rebounding, ice water in the veins free throw shooting by every Lobo that stepped to the line and the Lobos maintaining their lead. Kendall Williams had a nice up and under early in the second half get the Lobo lead back to ten. Phillip McDonald then had a series of plays that brought the crowd to their feet at about the 8 minute mark one after an assist by Tony Snell going to the other was a rebound/dunk after a miss by Snell.
The Lobos were not shooting well from the field in the second half only making 31% of their shots, they made up for it by shooting 83% at the line which included a string of 13 straight makes from the line. That is not as exciting as the other made shots, but it kept the Lobos in front and eventually led to the 68-61 win by the Lobos with 13 of the final 16 points coming from the line over the last 7:11. The only made shot in that time was a 3 pt shot by whom else? Phillip McDonald
McDonald's 27 points were the fourth highest total in Lobo history for a player coming off the bench. So on a night that Dairese Gary doesn't score, big games by McDonald and Gordon (having his second double double) led the Lobos to victory. Gordon had 16 points and 15 rebounds, Alex Kirk had 9 points and 4 blocks, Kendall Williams was almost back to his non-freshman self with 10 points, six assists and ZERO turnovers.
The Lobos will next host the 18-0 6th ranked San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday at 4pm in The Pit. Do whatever you need to do to get to the game because it will be a monster.