In First Four of March Madness, Colorado State blows out Virginia 67-42


Joel Scott scored a season-high 23 factors and had 11 rebounds as Colorado State gained an NCAA Event recreation for the primary time in 11 years, blowing out Virginia 67-42 within the First 4 on Tuesday evening.

Nique Clifford added 17 factors and 10 rebounds for the Rams (25-10), who advance as a No. 10 seed to play seventh-seeded Texas in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Thursday.

“I’ll let you know what, laborious to think about tonight going any higher for us,” Colorado State coach Niko Medved stated. “Only a terrific efficiency, actually, on each ends of the ground, from the opening tip.”


Reece Beekman had 15 factors on 4-of-16 taking pictures for Virginia, which hasn’t gained an NCAA Tournament game because it gained the nationwide title in 2019. That stretch contains two first-round losses as a No. 4 seed.

The Cavaliers’ ugly efficiency ignited extra debate about whether or not they need to have made the event discipline. Though Virginia completed third within the Atlantic Coast Convention, it had simply two Quad 1 wins and struggled offensively all season.

“It’s a laborious event to qualify (for), and also you wish to be enjoying your greatest if you get into it,” stated Virginia coach Tony Bennett, whose five hundredth profession recreation on the college was among the many low factors of his 15 stellar seasons. “And clearly, we didn’t try this.”

Virginia guard Reece Beekman, heart proper, shoots towards Colorado State’s Joe Palmer (20) in the course of the first half of a First 4 school basketball recreation within the NCAA Event in Dayton, Ohio, on March 19, 2024. (AP Picture/Jeff Dean)

Colorado State dominated the boards and the Cavaliers couldn’t sustain, taking pictures 25% for the sport. The Rams shot 55%, out-rebounded the Cavaliers 43-24 and scored 36 factors within the paint.

“(We) took away their strengths that they’re actually good at,” Clifford stated. “After which we didn’t allow them to take us out of our recreation plan. We caught to what we do and simply had been assured in it.”

Virginia completed with the second-fewest factors by an ACC group within the NCAA Event, trailing solely Bennett’s 2017 Cavaliers squad, which misplaced 65-39 to Florida within the second spherical.

Virginia shot terribly from the start, with Colorado State constructing a 27-14 lead on the break.

The Cavaliers hit 5 of 29 photographs — 17% — within the first half, failing to get a basket within the final 9:20. Beekman was 1 of 9, whereas Scott had 10 factors for the Rams on the break.

“In fact, we weren’t hitting photographs, after which they used a whole lot of the clock as nicely, to get their good photographs,” Beekman stated. “So type of broke us down. I really feel like they had been simply by no means rushed all through the sport. Credit score them for that.”

The Rams scored the primary eight factors of the second half earlier than Virginia obtained one other basket.


The spotlight for Virginia was a 4-2 lead on the 15:23 mark of the primary half. It was just about downhill from there. Colorado State constructed on its halftime lead with one other surge. The Cavaliers obtained inside 15 factors with about 10 minutes left, however a 3-pointer by Patrick Cartier on the Rams’ subsequent possession helped them draw back once more.

Isaac McKneely completed 2 of 13 from the sphere for the Cavaliers, and Jacob Groves was 1 of 8. Their baskets had been the Cavs’ solely 3-pointers as Virginia went 3 of 17 past the arc.

“They did miss some attractiveness, however I additionally thought we did a extremely good job of difficult shooters,” Medved stated. “I assumed we did a great job of closing out and making it tough on these guys.”

Medved made his second NCAA Event look in six seasons with the Rams. Virginia has been to March Insanity 10 occasions in Bennett’s 15 years.

“That’s an unimaginable program, one which I’ve an unbelievable quantity of respect for,” Medved stated. “And so I didn’t see this coming this fashion tonight in any respect.”


Virginia’s last NCAA Tournament victory was 85-77 in time beyond regulation over Texas Tech within the 2019 nationwide title recreation. Since then, the Cavaliers have misplaced within the first spherical to 13 seeds Ohio (2021) and Furman (final yr).

The yr earlier than its nationwide title, Virginia was a No. 1 seed however was surprised by Sixteenth-seeded Maryland-Baltimore County.



Scott, a graduate switch who performed 4 years at Black Hills State in South Dakota, had his greatest recreation at Colorado State. He averaged 12.9 factors per recreation in the course of the season.

“Truthfully, I feel it was simply extra having fun with the second. We’re on a giant stage. Very cool expertise,” Scott stated. “Not everybody will get to do that. And so it’s extra simply having fun with the second, having enjoyable with it.”


Colorado State will play Texas at 6:50 p.m. EDT on Thursday.


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