Colorado State men's basketball team manhandles Mountain West-leading Utah State

Moby Arena has turned into a force.

The Colorado State men's basketball team has had its struggles in true road games, but the Rams have been nearly unbeatable in Fort Collins.

Mountain West-leading Utah State was the latest victim, as the Rams blasted the Aggies 75-55 in front of a sold-out crowd.

It moves CSU to 14-1 this season at Moby.

Here are four takeaways from the important win for the Rams.

Joel Scott sets tone inside

Big man Joel Scott was in a slump of sorts when these teams met in Logan in early January. He scored just six points on 2-7 shooting as the Rams lost at Utah State.

Not in this one. He scored CSU’s first seven points inside the first 2 minutes and all were in the paint.

"I thought Joel Scott set the tone for how the game needed to be played for us," CSU coach Niko Medved said. "We were really aggressive attacking the lane and it was awesome."

It set the tone for CSU’s assault at the rim.

Utah State (21-5, 9-4 Mountain West) has a star in the post in Great Osobor, but the Rams (20-6, 8-5 MW) made sure to attack the Aggies inside and it worked time after time.

Scott was on a mission and scored 17 points on 7-9 shooting. He also grabbed eight rebounds.

"I think sometimes it’s really good to set that physicality tone, whether that be rebounding or, like tonight, getting to the rim and scoring a little bit," Scott said.

The Rams had an eye-popping 32 points in the paint by halftime. CSU finished with 48 paint points.

Utah State switched defenses to clog the paint in the second half and CSU struggled from 3-point range, but the Rams did enough to maintain a comfortable lead. The Rams were just 4-23 from deep (17%) but Utah State was only 4-15 (27%) from 3-point territory.

Isaiah Stevens passed Andy Birley for most 3-pointers made in program history during the game as he finished with 18 points and eight assists.

Utah State is a big, physical team and the Rams manhandled the Aggies in the physicality categories. Rebounds were 45-32 for CSU and offensive rebounds were 14-8 for the Rams.

CSU kept Utah State from its patented transition game and held the Aggies to just four fastbreak points.

Nique Clifford had 10 rebounds to go with eight points, and nine different Rams scored. Osobor had 15 points and 13 rebounds, but it took him 13 shots to get there. The Rams held Utah State to 39% shooting on the game.

Second-half worry pushed aside

Everyone in the stadium was thinking the same thing at halftime.

The Rams had a 17-point (43-26) lead, but it wasn’t comfortable to all the fans after a 14-point lead at San Diego State Tuesday turned into a meltdown loss. The Rams scored just 11 points in that stunning final 20 minutes in San Diego.

Things never got too shaky in this one. Utah State at one point cut it to 11 points but was never within less than 10 points for the final 32 minutes of the game.

The Rams ended up winning the second half by three points and the result was never in doubt. CSU led for 38:46 of the 40 minutes. Utah State was never in front, and the only tied score was at 2-2.

"I never question these guys’ resolve and if they were going to respond to what happened in the second half there on Tuesday," Medved said. "You’ve got to be able to do that in college basketball and especially in these leagues. It’s a high-major league. There’s desperation in every game for everybody to win. Guys came out today and played with a real edge."

CSU lingering in Mountain West

Despite CSU’s MW road woes (1-5 in league play on the road), the Rams are still in the title race due to dominance at home.

CSU is 7-0 in league play at Moby Arena and this win pulls the Rams within a game of Utah State in the loss column. The Rams have beat Utah State, Boise State, New Mexico and San Diego State at home. All of them are in the race.

The Rams play at New Mexico and at UNLV next week and would likely need to win at least one to have a chance to win the league, but they aren’t out of it yet.

As far as the NCAA Tournament, this was another key win to add to an already strong resume.

Cancer warriors game

This was the fifth year in a row CSU has held its “Fight Like A Ram” game where the team wears the name of those who have fought or are fighting cancer on the backs of their jerseys.

In a partnership with UCHealth, players are partnered with a cancer warrior, who shares a letter with the player, and they meet in the leadup to the game.

It’s proved an impactful tradition.

“It’s tough to beat an experience like this, the way everyone’s lives are touched in a different way,” said Joe Palmer. “I think everyone is changed from an event like this, whether you think it or not.”

Players take pictures and share the game-worn jerseys with those they represented.

“It’s a really special opportunity and experience to be part of,” Scott said. “It’s really cool to meet those cancer warriors and talk to them about their stories and hear what they’re going through and get a chance to know them.”

Follow sports reporter Kevin Lytle on Twitter and Instagram @Kevin_Lytle.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Colorado State basketball manhandles Mountain West-leading Utah State