On Saturday, Kendall Williams was on fire.
Williams led his No. 16 New Mexico Lobos into Fort Collins, Colorado, and ended not only the Colorado State Rams‘ hopes of winning the Mountain West Conference, but their 27-game home winning streak as well.
He was in that zone top-tier athletes sometimes discuss and even more rarely find.
The 6’4” shooting guard shot the lights out of Moby Arena; he went an amazing 12-16 from the floor, including draining an incredible 10-13 three-pointers, and scored 12 more from the charity stripe for a new career-high of 46 points. It wasn’t just that he scored a high volume of points, his timing was impeccable, too.
With Colorado State up one and little more than five minutes left on the clock, Williams took over; he hit three straight from downtown, then threw down a thunderous dunk that gave his Lobos the six-point lead with 1:20 to go. In fact, he was so clutch, he scored 18 of New Mexico’s last 21 points to secure the victory and hold onto the conference lead.
Interesting enough for CSU, Williams’ profound performance wasn’t the first time they’ve allowed one opposing player to go off, it’s a reoccurring theme this season for the Rams.
Two games ago, Michael Lyons was unconscious, scoring a career-high 45 points as his Air Force Falcons fell 89-86 to the green and gold. Unlike Williams, who had lots of help from center Alex Kirk‘s double-double, Lyons was the one-man show in Colorado Springs. At one point late in the first half, he scored 25-31 Air Force points, and kept them in the contest all day long.
Against the Nevada Wolfpack, Malik Story was the story, with his 31 points, hitting many threes.
In all, seven players have scored at least 26 points on the Rams this year, 10 have enjoyed 23-plus point games.
While the season stats say CSU allows opponents to make only 32.8 percent of their shots from beyond the arc, closing out on shooters has been a weakness for the Rams.
Too often, when high screens come, Colorado State defenders go under the screen and leave the shooter all alone to size up and knock down the shot.
Going forward, it’s a bit scary for CSU.
They’ll see many of these men in the Mountain West Tournament, and in the NCAA tourney, nearly every team will have a player capable of killing them with outside shooting.
Larry Eustachy said the team will get back to work Monday following the loss to New Mexico, and they need to work on going over screens and contesting shots.