photo1

Bradley’s Jayson Kent, right, pulls down a rebound from teammate Malevy Leons, left, and Colorado State’s Jalen Lake during the first half of Friday’s first-round game in the Paradise Jam men’s college basketball tournament at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center on St. Thomas.

ST. THOMAS — Colorado State has already been getting attention from the voters in the Associated Press’ Top 25 poll the last two weeks.

Well, the Rams may earn a few more votes in next week’s poll after their come-from-behind 66-60 victory over Bradley on Friday in the opening game of the Paradise Jam tournament.

Colorado State, the 2017 Jam champion, improved to 4-0 in large part to junior David Roddy, who scored 23 of his career-high 30 points over the final 20 minutes at the UVI Sports and Fitness Center.

That allowed the Rams to rally from an eight-point deficit late in the first half, then hold on as the Braves (1-3) cut Colorado State’s lead to a basket several times late in the second to remain undefeated.

John Tonje added 13 points and Dischon Thomas 11 for the Rams.

Terry Roberts had 24 points to lead three players in double figures for Bradley, with Ja’Shon Henry and Ville Tahvanainen adding 10 points each.

Turning point

Colorado State struggled with its shot in the first half, setting up a 20-minute span in which the lead changed hands seven times, with six ties, before the Braves pulled ahead late.

Bradley’s biggest lead came in the final minute of the first half, when Roberts’ layup put the Braves up 27-19 with 59 seconds left. They were ahead 27-21 at the break.

But when Roddy took him game up several notches, things changed for the Rams. His layup with 13:13 left cut Bradley’s lead to 37-36, and kicked off a 19-7 run over the next five minutes. He had seven points over the final minute to give Colorado State a 52-44 lead, its biggest of the game.

The Braves managed to pull within two points twice in the final seven minutes, the last at 62-60 on Roberts’ 3-pointer with 53 seconds left, but Tonje followed with a fast break dunk and a pair of free throws to seal the win.

Key players

David Roddy, Colorado State: The 6-foot-6 forward bested his previous career high of 28 points scored just a week ago against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He made 10 of 14 shots (but missed both of his 3-point attempts) and 10 of 13 free throws. He also had a game-high nine rebounds.

Terry Roberts, Bradley: The 6-3 junior guard kept the Braves in the game when things looked like it could go out of control, scoring 18 points in the second half. He made 10 of 15 from the field (including 4 of 6 3-pointers), and also had six rebounds.

Observations

• After a terrible first half of shooting, Colorado State recovered nicely in the second half to finish at 41.2% (21 of 51), including 5 of 19 on 3-pointers. The Rams really made up points at the free throw line, making 19 of 25 — 13 of 15 coming in the second half.

• Bradley actually made more shots than Colorado State, going 25 of 64 from the field (39.1%) and 6 of 24 on 3-pointers. But the free throw line killed the Braves, where they made just 4 of 10 attempts — and were 0 for 3 in the second half.

• Bradley also enjoyed an advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Colorado State 40-34 — 12-5 on offensive boards. But the Braves couldn’t take advantage of that, managing just six second-chance points.

• Another strong point was the scoring from Colorado State’s reserves. Led by Tonje, the Rams’ bench outscored Bradley’s reserves 18-9.

Up next

Colorado State moves on to the semifinals, where they face 2016 Paradise Jam champion Creighton at 6:45 p.m. Sunday. Meanwhile, Bradley drops into the consolation round, playing Brown at 4:15 p.m. today.