The CSU 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.
The 15-4 (2-2 MW) Rams are coming off of a 66-61 road loss at No. 15/17 New Mexico. The Rams’ comeback attempt finished just short, as CSU closed to within three points with under 10 seconds to play, after trailing by as many as 22 early in the second half.
Fresno State (7-11, 1-4 MW) is coming off of a 74-67 road loss at Boise State on Wednesday, the Bulldogs second straight conference defeat, since picking up a home win over Wyoming (49-36) on Jan. 16. The Bulldogs are just 2-8 since opening the season with a 5-3 start.
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.
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. Streaming video (subscription) is available via Bulldogs All-Access at GoBulldogs.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 1,144-1,174 (.494) in 2,318 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 15-4 record (2-2 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. 4 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 2-4 record on the road, picking up tough road wins at Denver and at Washington, before falling in their last four true road outings at Colorado, UIC, then-No. 16/15 San Diego State (overtime), and No. 15/17 New Mexico. The Rams were 3-9 on the road in 2011-12.
Overall, the Rams are 4-4 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 seven teams in the country to rank in the top-50 in the nation in both scoring offense (50th) and scoring defense (T-47th). CSU joins Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Southern Miss and Syracuse.
About Fresno State
The Bulldogs enter Saturday’s contest with a 7-11 record, including a 1-4 start to the Mountain West action, after back-to-back losses vs. Nevada (68-61) and at Boise State (74-67).
Fresno State owns a 4-5 record at home in the Save Mart Center, with wins over Pacific (Nov. 16), San Diego Christian (Dec. 6), Sonoma State (Dec. 30), and Wyoming (Jan. 16).
Junior guard Tyler Johnson is the only Bulldog to average double figures (11.3) during the 2012-13 season, the 18th highest mark in the Mountain West.
Johnson recorded his third straight contest with 16 or more points in the loss at Boise State.
Through five conference games Fresno State has held its opponents to 27.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc, the second lowest total in the conference (Wyoming, 24.1%)
The Bulldogs have been equally impressive on the offensive side of three-point land, connecting on 36.6 percent of their attempts, the third best success rate through conference play.
Freshman 7-0 center Robert Upshaw leads the conference in blocked shots with 3.3 rejections per game. Upshaw is also averaging 5.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest.
Head Coach Rodney Terry is in his second season at Fresno State, he owns a 20-31 record during that time.
Terry’s squad has held 15 of its 18 opponents under 70 points.
The Bulldogs have forced 141 turnovers on the season as compared to 90 forced turnovers by their opponents.
Series vs. Fresno State
Saturday’s game between the Rams and the Bulldogs marks the 21st in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 84-66 CSU victory - on Dec. 30, 1964 in Fort Collins.
Fresno State holds an 11-9 lead in the all-time series.
The Rams are 0-8 all-time in Fresno, including a 73-50 defeat in their last trip to the Save Mart Center in 2009-10.
The Rams defeated the Bulldogs, 87-74, in the most recent matchup at Moby Arena on Dec. 4, 2010. Dorian Green recorded 10 points in the victory, adding to Wes Eikmeier’s six points and four assists.
The programs competed 11 times as WAC rivals from 1992-93 to 1998-99, with Fresno State holding an 8-3 advantage in those games.
Give their Rams their first road win in the series vs. Fresno State (0-8).
Improve CSU’s record against Fresno State to 10-11, giving the Rams a shot at tying the series on Feb. 27 when the Bulldogs travel to Fort Collins.
Move CSU’s overall record to 16-4, tying the 1953-54 team for the second best mark through 20 games. The Rams began the 1997-98 season with a 17-3 record.
Give the Rams their first win over Fresno State as conference rivals since an 80-79 home victory over the Bulldogs during the 1996-97 WAC slate.
Rams in elite company
Entering Saturday’s game at Fresno State, Colorado State is one of seven programs nationally to rank in the top-50 in both scoring offense (50th) and scoring defense (T-47th), joining an elite group of programs.
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Indiana (2nd offense/T-47th defense), Kansas (41/36), Lousiville (36/20), Michigan (12/37), Southern Miss (44/16) and Syracuse (26/25).
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 3.44 ranks fourth in the country behind Valparaiso (3.77), Middle Tennessee State (3.51) and Ohio (3.48).
Combined, the top four schools have a 62-18 record (.775) record.
Hornung among nation’s top O-rebounders
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung ranks as the No. 2 offensive rebounder in the nation entering Saturday’s game at Fresno State.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo., pulls down an average of 4.58 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.50 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks just behind South Alabama’s Augustin Rubit (4.64) and ahead of Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.52), Siena’s O.D. Anosike (4.31) and Murray State’s Ed Daniel (4.2) who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 78 offensive rebounds in 17 games, have accounted for 89 second chance points, or 36 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 Colton Iverson (2.95) and Greg Smith (2.79) rank tied for 78th and 118th 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. 24.
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 Saturday’s game at Fresno State).
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.
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 2-4 on the road this season, entering Saturday’s contest at Fresno State.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team returns to the friendly confines of Moby Arena, looking to extend its school-record home win streak to 25 straight games, hosting Boise State.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Broncos is set for 7 p.m. MT.
The Rams and Broncos meet for the 10th time in the series between the two programs. Colorado State holds a 6-3 advantage. The teams split the series in 2011, each winning at home.