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Sports / Recreation

Historic season comes to a close

March 22, 2013

The 2012-13 CSU men's basketball team will go down as one of the best in school history. The Rams' season ended Saturday with a loss to Louisville but fans won't soon forget this team's many accomplishments.

Dorian Green scored a season-best 26 points Thursday night vs. Missouri, leading the Rams to an 84-72 win.The heartbroken Rams were distraught following their 82-56 loss to Louisville, the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. CSU played well early but succumbed to the relentless pressure defense of the Cardinals.

"I don't want this game to define our season," said first-year Rams coach Larry Eustachy. "I told the guys that, with a lot of tears in the locker room, this is one of the few teams -- it's the only team -- I don't want the season to end. I really wanted to go to practice on Monday, but we caught as well-coached a team as I've ever played against and that's -- I think that's saying something."

Big win over Mizzou

The Rams had advanced to the Round of 32 by dominating Missouri 84-72 on Thursday night in Lexington, Ky. The Rams, led by senior point guard Dorian Green's 26 points, got off to a fast start and withstood every challenge by the Tigers to earn their first NCAA victory since 1989 and their first postseason victory since an NIT win in 1999.

Jon Octeus and Greg Smith had 12 points each, Wes Eikmeier had 11 and Colton Iverson had 13 rebounds to help the Rams dominate Missouri 42-19 on the boards.

It was, in pretty much every way, the best game of the season for the eight-seeded Rams.

Louisville's 'D' too tough

They needed more of the same vs. Louisville, and started out looking like they were the Cards' equal. Green hit a pair of early 3-pointers, and the Rams (26-9) led by as many as five points before Louisville turned up the defensive pressure.

The Cardinals (31-5) forced a season-high 20 turnovers by the Rams and, led by Russ Smith (27 points), turned many of those into easy baskets. Louisville steadily built its lead throughout the game and won going away.

Amazing season

Despite the loss, the season will go down as one of the greatest in CSU history, and fans have the five senior starters -- Green, Smith, Iverson, Eikmeier and Pierce Hornung -- to thank. Highlights include:

  • A school-record 26 victories
  • Four consecutive postseason appearances -- a record
  • A school-record 27 consecutive home victories
  • A school-record four sellouts at Moby Arena
  • The first appearance in the AP Top 25 since 1954
  • The highest finish in Mountain West play (2nd) in the 15-year history of hte league

So, despite the loss, the seniors -- who tied a school-record with 81 victories in four seasons -- walk away proud of their many accomplishments.

"It's hard to digest this loss," Hornung said. "Give us some time to reflect on our season, and how much fun we had and what we accomplished."