Jan. 5, 2013
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State men's basketball team closed its non-conference schedule with a bang on Saturday afternoon, rolling past St Bonaventure, 85-64, at Moby Arena.
The win was an historic event for the Rams, as Colorado State picked up its 22nd straight home victory to extend the nation's fourth-longest home court win streak and match the program record set at South College Gym from 1960-62.
With the victory, the team also improved to 13-2 to open the season, matching the school's best start through 15 games, a record established 60 years ago during the 1952-53 season.
And, the game marked a special milestone for CSU's Pierce Hornung who, along with his fellow senior starters, played a key role in the Rams' fast start and wire-to-wire finish against the Bonnies. The senior forward notched a game-high 13 rebounds (to go with eight points) in the contest, moving into a tie with Larry Hoffner (1958-60) for 10th on the Rams' all-time rebounding list with 638 career boards.
Hornung also added a team-leading two steals on Saturday, as Colorado State used a strong defensive effort to fuel its offense. Overall, the Rams held SBU to 35 percent shooting from the field, and set the tone early by holding the Bonnies without a field goal (0-for-10) until the 12:23 mark of the opening half. By that time, the Rams had opened up a 19-6 lead and never looked back.
"(The fast start) was a point of emphasis," said Hornung of the Rams' gameplan for SBU. "Obviously we talked about that the past couple weeks - our slow starts - and I think we did a good job of correcting that."
Added senior guard Dorian Green: "I thought we did pretty well (defensively). We came out early and played well defensively. That jump started us offensively."
The Rams offense exploded early thanks to Green and backcourt mate Wes Eikmeier, who tallied 13 and 11 first-half points, respectively. Eikmeier finished with a game-high 21 points, his first 20-point outburst of the season, and the 11th of his CSU career, while Green added 19 points and a game-high six assists. Eikmeier was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line.
"When we are making shots, when any team is making shots, it helps." said head coach Larry Eustachy following the win. "But again, we didn't against UTEP and we found a way to win.
"We were ready to play. I know this team and we had talked about this is your last non-conference game for several of these guys on this court. I have taken several teams on a senior night onto the road and won but I think this team is different. I think those types of things mean a lot to these guys."
Another of the Rams' seniors playing his final non-conference home game at Moby Arena was Colton Iverson, who tallied his sixth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds, to go along with three assists and a pair of blocks. Iverson bounced back with a big second half effort after recording just two points and four boards at intermission.
"I thought (St. Bonaventure) did a good job," said Iverson. "They were doubling down, which got me frustrated early. Greg (Smith) and I only had two points together at half. We just stuck with what we do. We played hard defense, and defense leads to offense."
The Rams notched 42 points in the paint, and outrebounded the Bonnies 45-28. Hornung and Iverson, who entered play this week as the nation's top rebounding tandem, combined for 25 boards. Hornung pulled down seven on the offensive glass alone.
"It has been a great non-conference," added Eustachy. "We have protected our home court which you have to do. Now is the time to tee it up with the big fellas and take it a game at a time. We've put ourselves in position RPI wise and record wise. The whole thing is to try and win a championship and get into the NCAA Tournament. It's not going to be easy. We are going to have some close games that we are going to have to win."
Colorado State is idle next week, returning to the court next Saturday to open Mountain West action at No. 17/19 San Diego State. Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 6 p.m. MT/5 p.m. PT from SDSU's Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.
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