The Colorado State men’s basketball team opens a two-game road swing with a huge Mountain West matchup against conference-leader No. 15/17 New Mexico on Wednesday night at the Pit.
The 15-3 (2-1 MW) Rams are coming off of a resounding 66-61 home victory over the (RV/23) UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday night to take over second place in the Mountain West standings heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
New Mexico (16-2, 3-0 MW) sits atop the league standings as the only undefeated team, with home victories over UNLV (65-60), and Fresno State (72-45), as well as an overtime road win at Boise State (79-74) in their last outing on Jan. 16. The Lobos were idle over the weekend.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Lobos is set for 6 p.m. MT and the game will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.
The Rams split with the Lobos in 2011-12, falling at unranked New Mexico, 85-52, in the first matchup before defeating the No. 18/21-ranked Lobos, 71-63, at Moby 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) is 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 1,144-1,173 (.494) in 2,317 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 15-3 record (2-1 MW). 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 close non-conference play, tying the program’s best 15-game mark, with the 1953-54 team, to close non-conference play.
The Rams have established a new program record by winning 24 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to November of 2011. The streak currently ranks fourth nationally behind Syracuse (35), Kansas (32) and South Dakota State (25).
Colorado State ranks as the No. 3 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 42.6 rebounds per game, and entered play this week leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 13.8 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 10-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 24 games. The streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams next home game, Jan. 30 vs. Boise State.
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.
Colorado State enters play this week as one of six teams in the country to rank in the top-50 in the nation in both scoring offense (47th) and scoring defense (43rd). CSU joins Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Kansas and Michigan.
About New Mexico
The No. 15/17 Lobos enter Wednesday’s contest with a 16-2 record, including a 3-0 start to the Mountain West action, after sitting idle during last weekend’s action.
UNM has now been ranked nationally eight of the last nine weeks.
New Mexico owns a 9-1 record at home this season, with the lone setback coming at the hands of South Dakota State, 70-65, on Dec. 22.
UNM’s other loss came just a little more than a week later when the squad dropped a 60-46 road tilt at St. Louis.
Head Coach Steve Alford is in his sixth season with the Lobos, he has compiled a 142-48 record while at the school. Alford is one of five Division I head coaches to have his son, Kory, on the roster.
UNM has averaged an attendance of 14,798 fans during the 2012-13 season. Last year the Lobos averaged 14,455 per home game, ranking 16th nationally.
Mountain West preseason all-conference selection Kendall Williams leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per outing during the 2012-13 season.
Junior guard Tony Snell, also a MW preseason all-conference pick, is averaging 17.0 points per game through conference play; fifth most by any MW player.
Sophomore center Alex Kirk outdoes both Snell and Williams since the beginning of the Mountain West season, scoring 17.3 points per game, fourth most in the league.
The Rams and Lobos are tied for first in conference in scoring margin, each winning by an average of 12.3 ppg in MW play.
UNM also leads the MW in steals (8.3) and turnover margin (+3.33) per game during conference play.
Series vs. New Mexico
Wednesday’s game between the Rams and the Lobos marks the 112th in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 53-39 CSU victory - on Dec. 20, 1940.
UNM holds a 69-43 advantage in the all-time series.
The Rams and Runnin’ Rebels first met on the hardwood on Jan. 12, 1979, a 90-85 UNLV victory in Fort Collins.
The Rams are 12-45 all-time in Albuquerque, last winning at The Pit coming on Jan. 26, 2007 (88-79).
The last four meetings between the two schools have been won by the home team.
CSU knocked off the then-No. 18 Lobos in Moby Arena last season, 71-63, behind Dorian Green’s game-high 17 points.
As charter members of the Mountain West, the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels have competed 28 times since the 1999-2000 season, with UNM holding a 23-5 advantage.
A win over New Mexico will...
Move CSU into a tie with UNM for first place in the Mountain West standings at 3-1 in league play.
Mark the first two-game win streak against the Lobos since the Rams took three straight in the series in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
Give the Rams their first victory at the Pit since capturing an 88-79 win during the 2006-07 season.
Mark Colorado State’s second consecutive victory over a ranked opponent, following the Rams’ 66-61 home win over (RV/23) UNLV on Wednesday night.
Improve the Rams’ all-time record against the Lobos to 44-69, and give the Rams a 13-45 mark in the Pit.
Move CSU’s overall record to 16-3, tying the school record for the best mark through 19 games with the 1997-98 team.
Snap the Rams’ three-game road skid.
Mark the Rams’ first road win over a ranked opponent since Dec. 29, 1989, a 78-67 victory over Dean Smith and No. 24-ranked North Carolina, a streak of 21 consecutive road losses to ranked opponents.
Rams in elite company
Entering Wednesday’s game at No. 15/17 New Mexico, Colorado State is one of six programs nationally to rank in the top-50 in both scoring offense (47th) and scoring defense (43rd), joining an elite group of programs.
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Louisville (15th offense/T-35th defense), Syracuse (T-27/17), Cincinnati (37/50), Kansas (38/38) and Michigan (42/10).
Colorado State ranks among the nation’s most experienced teams, and is the top-rated team in the Mountain West in terms of average class year per minute played, according to StatSheet.com.
The Rams average of 3.43 ranks fourth in the country behind Valparaiso (3.76), Middle Tennessee State (3.51) and Ohio (3.48).
Combined, the top four schools have a 59-17 record (.776) record.
Hornung top offensive rebounder in nation
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung ranks as the top offensive rebounder in the nation entering Wednesday’s game at No. 15/17 New Mexico.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo., pulls down an NCAA-leading 4.75 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.24 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks ahead of South Alabama’s Augustin Rubit (4.65), Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.55), Siena’s O.D. Anosike (4.3) and Murray State’s Ed Daniel (4.2) who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 76 offensive rebounds in 16 games, have accounted for 85 second chance points, or 38 percent of the Rams’ total second-chance points in those contests.
More on offensive boards
In addition to Hornung’s prowess of the offensive glass, senior frontcourt mates Greg Smith (2.83) and Colton Iverson (2.78) rank tied for 104th and 121st in the nation, respectively, in offensive boards per game.
Colorado State is the only team in the country to have three players listed in the Top 200, through games played Jan. 20.
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 Wednesday’s contest at No. 15/17 New Mexico.
Hornung leads the Rams, pulling down 10.1 rebounds per game, while Iverson averages 9.0
A winning era
CSU’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 70 wins during their careers at Colorado State (entering Wednesday’s game at New Mexico).
That total is now tied for eighth in program history for wins in a four-year period, just five wins away from the top five (75 wins), recorded from 1994-95 to 1997-98.
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 24-game home-court win streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams’ road contest at No. 15/17 New Mexico 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 24 games.
The Rams’ Jan. 16 victory over Air Force (79-40), the team’s 23rd straight at home, established a new program record, eclipsing the old mark set from 1960-62 when the program called South College Gym home.
The importance of road wins
CSU Head Coach Larry Eustachy has stressed the importance of Road wins to his team since stepping on campus for the first time last April.
In 2011-12, under Tim Miles, the Rams earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney despite a 3-9 road record.
Entering the 2012-13 season, Eustachy was 84-152 (.356) in his career in road contests, but his win percentage on the road jumps to .525 (42-38) in seasons that he has led his programs to the postseason.
In four seasons that ended in NCAA Tournament appearances at Southern Miss (2011-12), Iowa State (1999-00 and 2000-01) and Utah State (1997-98), Eustachy’s programs were an impressive 26-20 (.565) on the road.
Colorado State is 2-3 on the road this season, entering Wednesday’s contest at No. 15/17 New Mexico.
MW Player of the Week Recognition
Colorado State senior guard Dorian Green earned his first MW Player of the Week honor on Jan. 21, after leading CSU to back-to-back home wins over Air Force and (RV/23) UNLV to set the school record for consecutive home victories (24). For the week, Green averaged 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game, while adding two steals and hitting 8-of-19 (.421) from the field, 5-of-12 (.417) from beyond the arc, and 8-of-8 (1.000) from the free-throw line. He dished out seven assists in the Rams’ victory over Air Force, and tallied a season-high 24 points, five assists and five rebounds against the Runnin’ Rebels.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team plays the second half of a two-game road swing, traveling to Fresno, Calif., to renew a conference rivalry with first-year MW member, and former WAC foe, Fresno State at the Save Mart Center.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Bulldogs is set for 8 p.m. MT/7 p.m. PT.
The Rams and Bulldogs have competed on the hardwood just twice this century, each winning at home. Fresno State captured a 73-50 win over the Rams in 2009-10, while CSU picked up an 87-74 win the following season in Moby Arena.