The Colorado State men’s basketball team renews the “Border War” on Saturday evening, hosting the arch-rival Wyoming Cowboys in the first leg of the annual rivalry.
The 17-4 (4-2 MW) Rams are coming off of a 77-57 road win vs. Boise State, led by a double-double performance of 23 points and 13 rebounds from senior F Pierce Hornung, who tallied a career-best with three three-pointers in the contest, to pull the Rams to within one game of conference-leading New Mexico.
Wyoming (15-5, 2-5 MW) has lost three straight and five of seven since opening with a perfect 13-0 record. Most recently, the Cowboys lost a hard-fought battle at home to No. 20/22 New Mexico, 63-59, on Wednesday night.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Cowboys is set for 5 p.m. MT at Moby Arena, and the game will be televised live on ROOT Sports.
The Rams and Cowboys meet for the 218th time in the series between the two programs which has featured more than 50 games more than any other series in CSU history. Wyoming holds a 128-89 advantage, and a 16-13 lead in games played as Mountain West foes. The Rams and Cowboys split two meetings in 2011-12, each winning at home.
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 1,146-1,174 (.494) in 2,320 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 17-4 record (4-2 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 25 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to Nov. 19, 2011, a loss to Southern Miss. The streak currently ranks fourth nationally behind Syracuse (35), Kansas (33) and South Dakota State (27).
Colorado State ranks as the No. 3 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 42.3 rebounds per game, and entered Saturday’s game vs. Wyoming leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 13.7 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 11-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 25 games. The streak ranks fourth nationally entering Saturday’s game vs. Wyoming.
Colorado State is 3-4 on the road in 2012-13, picking up tough road wins at Denver and at Washington, before falling in four straight road outings - at Colorado, UIC, then-No. 16/15 San Diego State (overtime), and No. 15/17 New Mexico - before a 74-63 victory at Fresno State in their last venture away from Moby Arena. The Rams were 3-9 on the road in 2011-12.
Overall, the Rams are 5-4 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 Saturday’s game as one of eight teams in the country to rank in the top-50 in the nation in both scoring offense (44th) and scoring defense (45th). CSU joins Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Southern Miss and Syracuse.
Ram Legends returning to Moby
Saturday’s contest against Wyoming marks CSU’s fifth-annual “Ram Legends” Weekend.
CSU players from all eras will be welcomed back to Moby Arena for a weekend full of events.
In addition to special reunion festivities throughout the weekend, participants will be honored at halftime of the contest vs. the Cowboys.
The Cowboys enter Saturday’s contest with a 15-5 record, including a 2-5 mark in Mountain West action, having lost three straight and five of their last seven since opening the season with a perfect 13-0 mark.
The Pokes are 5-2 on the road during the 2012-13 season, dropping their last two at UNLV 62-50 and Fresno State 49-36.
Senior forward Leonard Washington leads the Cowboys in scoring and rebounding, with 14.4 points and 8.9 boards per outing. Washington’s totals rank third in the conference for rebounding and 11th in scoring.
Washington is tied with Boise State’s Derrick Marks for the most steals during conference games; each player is averaging two takeaways per contest.
Senior Guard Derrious Gilmore (11.3) and sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. (10.6) are the only other players to average double-digit scoring.
Nance also pulls down an average of 8.3 rebounds per game, the sixth most of any MW player.
The Cowboys enter Saturday’s matchup ranking last in the Mountain West in scoring offense, averaging just 53 points per game. Colorado State sits on the opposite end of the spectrum, leading the conference with 71.5 points per contest during MW play.
Wyoming makes up for its lack of scoring on the defensive end of the court, allowing just 55.3 points per game, the best mark in the conference, which also ranks as fifth-best nationally.
Sophomore Riley Grabau edges out CSU’s Wes Eikmeier for a league-leading 42.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Eikmeier sits in a close second, connecting on 41.9 percent of his shots from long range.
Head Coach Larry Shyatt is in his third season of his second stint with Wyoming. He has compiled a 55-26 record at the helm of the Cowboys’ program.
Series vs. Wyoming
Saturday’s game between the Rams and the Cowboys marks the 218th “Border War” in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 20-17 CSU road victory - Jan. 27, 1911.
Wyoming holds an 128-89 lead in the all-time series.
The Rams are 53-51 all-time against the Cowboys in games played in Fort Collins.
The programs split two meetings last season, each winning at home. Following the Rams’ 70-51 loss in Laramie, CSU collected a 54-46 home win at Moby Arena.
Since the formation of the Mountain West in 1999-2000, CSU is 13-16 against Wyoming.
The Rams have won five of the last six meetings in the series since the 2009-10 season.
A win over Wyoming will...
Move CSU’s overall record to 18-4, tying the 1953-54 and 2007-08 teams for the second best mark through 22 games.
Extend the program record for consecutive home wins to 26. The streak ranks as the fourth-longest in the nation.
Make CSU 5-2 in conference play for the second time in three years.
Move the Rams’ all-time record against Wyoming to 90-128, and 54-51 in Fort Collins.
Make the 2012-13 squad the fastest CSU team to reach 18 victories in a season. The 1997-98 team won its 18th game on Feb. 5.
Move CSU to 4-0 at home in conference play for the second consecutive season.
Rams in elite company
Entering Saturday’s game vs. Wyoming, CSU is one of eight programs nationally to rank in the top-50 in both scoring offense (44th) and scoring defense (45th).
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Florida (49th offense/2nd defense), Indiana (1/47), Kansas (46/30), Louisville (42/T-17), Michigan (43/27), Southern Miss. (42/15), and Syracuse (24/35).
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 (3.76), Middle Tennessee State (3.51) and Ohio (3.49).
Combined, the top four schools have a 66-19 record (.776) record.
Hornung among nation’s top O-rebounders
Colorado State senior F Pierce Hornung ranks as the No. 3 offensive rebounder in the nation entering Saturday’s game vs. Wyoming.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo. Pulls down an average of 4.47 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead of the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.5 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks just behind Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.67), and South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit (4.63) and ahead of Murray State’s Ed Daniel (4.35) and Siena’s O.D. Anosike (4.19) who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 85 offensive rebounds in 19 games, have accounted for 97 second chance points, or 32 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 (3.0) and Greg Smith (2.67) rank tied for 63rd and tied for 153 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. 30.
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 vs. Wyoming.
Hornung leads the Rams, pulling down 9.7 rebounds per game, while Iverson averages 9.4.
A winning era
CSU’s fourth-year seniors – Dorian Green, Pierce Hornung and Greg Smith – have been a part of 72 wins during their careers at Colorado State (entering Saturday’s game vs. Wyoming).
That total is now tied for seventh in program history for wins in a four-year period, just three 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 25-game home-court win streak ranks fourth nationally entering the Rams’ home game Saturday vs. rival Wyoming.
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 25 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.
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.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team closes the first round of Mountain West action, traveling to face conference-newcomer Nevada.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Wolf Pack is set for 8 p.m. MT at the Lawlor Events Center, and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
The Rams and Wolf Pack meet for the just the 11th time in the series between the two programs, and the first time as Mountain West foes. Nevada leads the series, 6-4, including a victory in the last meeting, 82-76, during the 2008-09 season.