The Colorado State men’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of Moby Arena for a mid-week tilt against in-state rival Air Force.
The 13-3 (0-1 MW) Rams are coming off of a 79-72 overtime road loss at preseason favorite San Diego State, in which the team overcame an 18-point halftime deficit behind 22 points from Wes Eikmeier and double-doubles from Colton Iverson (18 points and 11 rebounds) and Daniel Bejarano (13 points and 11 rebounds) to force the extra period.
Air Force (9-5, 1-1 MW) is also coming off an overtime loss, falling 76-71 at UNLV. The Falcons opened up the conference slate last Wednesday with a 78-65 home win over Nevada.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Falcons is set for 7 p.m. MT on Wednesday.
The Rams swept Air Force last season, downing the Falcons 67-49 at Moby Arena, and coming away with a 75-65 win at Clune Arena.
Voice of the Rams Brian Roth will have the call on the Colorado State Sports Network - 560 AM KLZ (Denver), 600 AM KCOL (Fort Collins), 105.5 FM KJAC (Fort Collins), 1010 AM KSIR (Fort Morgan) and 1100 AM KNZZ (Grand Junction).
Streaming audio (free) and video (subscription) are available via Rams All-Access and live statistics can be viewed online via GameTracker at CSURams.com.
Rams quick hits
The 2012-13 season marks the 110th in the history of the Colorado State men’s basketball program. The Rams are 1,142-1,173 (.493) in 2,315 games all-time.
Colorado State enters the 2012-13 men’s basketball season under the direction of new head coach Larry Eustachy, in his 22nd season as a head coach at the NCAA Division I level.
The Colorado State basketball program is looking for its fourth-consecutive postseason appearance, and its second straight NCAA Tournament berth, in 2012-13.
The Rams return an experienced roster with seven letterwinners back form the 2011-12 season.
The Rams welcome a host of talented newcomers to the court this season, including Division I transfers Colton Iverson (Minnesota) and Daniel Bejarano (Arizona) who sat out 2011-12 per NCAA transfer rules.
In early August, the CSU basketball program spent five days together at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort in Nassau, Bahamas. Per NCAA rules, the team was allotted 10 days of practice leading up to the trip, and then played an exhibition contest against the Bahamas All-Stars, winning 95-80 behind a double-double effort (18 points, 14 rebounds) from Colton Iverson.
Colorado State enters Saturday’s game with a 13-3 record. The Rams opened the season 6-0, tying the program mark for best start established in 1970-71 and matched by the 2005-06 squad, and reached 13-2 to tie the program’s best 15-game mark, before falling in overtime at No. 16/15 San Diego State in the team’s most recent outing.
The Rams have also tied a program record by winning 22 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to November of 2011. The streak currently ranks fourth nationally behind Syracuse (34), Kansas (30) and South Dakota State (25), entering Wednesday’s home contest vs. Air Force.
Colorado State ranks as the No. 3 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 43.2 rebounds per game, and entered play this week leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 14.1 boards per game. The team has yet to be outrebounded in a game this year.
The Rams have been impressive at home in 2012-13, racking up a 9-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 22 games. The streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams next home game on Wednesday vs. Air Force.
Colorado State has opened the 2012-13 campaign with a 2-3 record on the road, picking up tough road wins at Denver and at Washington, before falling in their last three true road outings at Colorado, UIC and then-No. 16/15 San Diego State (overtime). The Rams were 3-9 on the road in 2011-12.
Overall, the Rams are 4-3 away from Moby Arena, having captured a pair of neutral-court victories over Portland and Virginia Tech en route to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic title, Dec. 22-23 at the Orleans Arena.
Colorado State recorded a school-record 13 non-conference victories in 2012-13, besting the mark of 11 set in 1997-98 and matched in 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2011-12.
About Air Force
The Falcons enter Wednesday’s contest with a 9-5 record, including a 1-1 start to the Mountain West action with a home victory over Nevada (78-65) and an overtime road loss at UNLV (76-71).
The Falcons are 2-3 on the road this season with wins at The Citadel (77-70) and UC Riverside (61-53). In addition the UNLV loss last week, the Falcons have also suffered defeat at then No. 23 Colorado (89-74) and Richmond (91-68).
Three of Air Force’s losses have come against opponents who were ranked. UNLV (then No. 24), Colorado (then No. 23) and Florida (then No. 14). A fourth team, Wichita State, moved into the rankings the week after defeating the Falcons.
Senior guard Michael Lyons leads the Falcons in scoring, averaging 18.4 points per contest, ranking second in the Mountain West.
Mike Fitzgerald, a senior forward, leads the conference in scoring at 26.0 ppg in conference games. Fitzgerald poured in a career-high 30 points in Air Force’s win over Nevada and another 22 against UNLV on Saturday.
The Falcons rank eighth in the conference in rebounding margin this season at -1.5, compared with the Rams’ +14.1 which ranks No. 1 in the NCAA.
As a team Air Force ranks 13th in the nation in three-point shooting, connecting on 40.2 percent of its shots from beyond the arc.
Head Coach Dave Pilipovich, who is in his first full season with the falcons after taking over midway through the 2011-12 campaign, owns an 11-11 record at the school.
Pilipovich’s son Kyle is a student manager with the Rams.
Series vs. Air Force
Wednesday’s game between the Rams and the Falcons marks the 100th in the series.
The Rams and Falcons first met on the hardwood on Jan. 19, 1957, a 70-62 Falcons victory in Colorado Springs.
Colorado State holds a 68-31 edge over Air Force.
The Rams are 36-10 all-time in home games against the Falcons.
Colorado State has won two straight against the Falcons, and seven of the last nine matchups dating back to the 2008-09 season.
CSU has won four straight home games against Air Force, since suffering a 61-59 setback at Moby Arena on Feb. 23, 2008.
A win over Air Force will...
Set a program record for consecutive home wins at 23, surpassing the mark of 22 straight home wins set at South College Gym from 1960-62. The Rams’ current home streak ranks fourth nationally.
Mark the Rams’ fourth straight victory in a Mountain West home opener. CSU is 7-6 all-time in MW home openers.
Improve CSU’s all-time record against Air Force to 69-31 overall, and 37-10 in Fort Collins.
Give the Rams three straight wins over the Falcons, and push CSU’s record vs. Air Force to 8-2 over the last 10 matchups.
Increase CSU’s overall record to 14-3, tying the school record for the best mark through 17 games, matching the Rams’ tallies to open the 1997-98 and 1953-54 seasons.
Hornung climbing rebounding charts
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung has reached the top-10 in the Rams’ all-time rebounding record book.
Hornung enters Wednesday’s contest vs. Air Force ranked No. 9 on the list with 652 career rebounds, 11 rebounds shy of No. 8 Tim Hall (663 from 1972-75) and 17 short of No. 7 Brian Greene (669 from 1999-2003).
At 6-4, Hornung is the shortest player among the Rams’ top-10, coming in an inch shorter CSU hoops legend Bill Green.
Rams boast NCAA’s top rebounding tandem
Colorado State’s senior frontcourt of Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson ranks as the No. 1 rebounding tandem in the country, combining to average 19.1 rebounds per game entering Saturday’s contest at San Diego State.
Hornung leads the Rams, pulling down 10.2 rebounds per contest, while Iverson pulls down 8.9 boards per game.
Non-conference wins record
Colorado State’s 85-64 victory over St. Bonaventure last Saturday secured the program’s 13 non-conference victory to open the 2012-13 season.
The 13 non-conference victories are a school record for the Rams. The team had previously captured 11 non-conference victories to start the 1997-98, 2002-03, 2005-06 and 2011-12 seasons, the fourth-best non-conference win percentage in program history, behind the 1997-98 (11-1; .917), 1953-54 (8-1; .889) and 1971-72 (7-1; .875) squads.
A winning era
CSU’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 68 wins during their careers at Colorado State (entering Wednesday’s game vs. Air Force).
That total, 16 games into their senior season, is now tied for 11th in program history for wins in a four-year period, just one victories away from the top 10 (69 wins) recorded from 1960-61 to 1963-64 and matched from 1985-86 to 1988-89.
The school record for wins in a four-year period is 81 victories from 1987-88 to 1990-91. The team would need 26 wins in 2012-13 to tie that record, and entered this year 20 wins away from the top-5 on that list of most successful four-year periods in program history.
Streaking at home
Colorado State’s current 22-game home-court win streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams’ home contest against Air Force on Wednesday night.
The Rams’ Nov. 15 victory over Chadron State (93-50), the team’s 15th straight at home, established a new Moby Arena record for the program, which the Rams have since extended to 22 games.
The Ram’s current home streak (22) is now tied for the longest in program history, matching the mark set from 1960-62 when the program called South College Gym home.
Below is a list of the top-10 active home-court win streaks in the nation.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team remains at home, hosting UNLV, who is ranked 23rd in the latest USA Today Coaches Top-25 poll, on Saturday afternoon at Moby Arena.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 6 p.m. MT on NBC Sports Network.
The Rams split with the Rebels in 2011-12, falling 82-63 at then-No. 11/13 UNLV, but storming back from a 41-26 first-half deficit to defeat 17/17 UNLV, 66-59, at Moby Arena.