The Colorado State men’s basketball team closes the first round of Mountain West action, traveling to face conference-newcomer Nevada.
The 18-4 (5-2 MW) Rams are coming off of a 65-46 home win vs. Wyoming, led by a double-double performance of 12 points and 11 rebounds from senior F Pierce Hornung, who earned MW Player of the Week honors for the second time this season.
Nevada (11-10, 2-5 MW) has lost two straight conference games, both on the road, since earning a 75-59 home win over Boise State on Jan. 26. The Wolf Pack’s recent road losses have come at UNLV (66-54) and conference-leading New Mexico (75-62).
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.
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 1,147-1,174 (.494) in 2,321 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 Wednesday’s game with an 18-4 record (5-2 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. CSU’s 18-4 mark ties the 1953-54 and 1997-98 squads for best record in school history through 22 games.
The Rams have established a new program record by winning 26 straight home games at Moby Arena dating back to Nov. 19, 2011, a loss to Southern Miss. The streak currently ranks third nationally behind Syracuse (35) and South Dakota State (28).
Colorado State ranks as the No. 3 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 42.3 rebounds per game, and enters Wednesday’s game at Nevada 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 12-0 mark and extending a record win streak at Moby Arena to 26 games. The streak ranks third nationally entering Wednesday’s game at Nevada.
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 - followed by 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 Wednesday’s game as one of eight teams in the country to rank in the top-55 in the nation in both scoring offense (52nd) and scoring defense (33rd). CSU joins Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan, Southern Miss and Syracuse.
The Wolf Pack enter Wednesday’s contest with an 11-10 record, including a 2-5 mark in Mountain West action, having lost two straight and six of their last eight since opening the season with a 9-4 record.
Nevada has found most of its success in the Lawlor Events Center during the 2012-13 season going 9-3 at home, recently defeating Boise State 75-59 (Jan. 26).
The Wolf Pack’s first conference win came on the road at Fresno State Jan. 19, knocking off the Bulldogs 68-61.
The Rams and Wolf Pack rank in the upper echelon of the MW in offensive rebounding. CSU leads the category grabbing its missed shot 41.9 percent of the time while Nevada sits in fourth at 33.7 percent.
Nevada also ranks as third best in free throw percentage during conference play, connecting on 73.1 percent.
Junior guard Deonte Burton, who is averaging 17.4 points per game in MW play, is the fourth leading scorer in the league. Senior guard Malik Story ranks in at ninth in the category, scoring 13.6 per contest. Burton and Story are the only Nevada players to average in double figures on the season.
Burton also ranks fourth in assists dishing out 4.1 per conference game, to go along with his assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1, the fifth-best average in the MW.
Junior guard Jerry Evans Jr. has grabbed 8.1 rebounds per MW outing, the sixth most of any player in the conference.
Head coach David Carter is in his fourth year at Nevada, compiling a 73-49 record, the ninth-most wins in program history.
The school is celebrating its 100th year of basketball.
Series vs. Nevada
Wednesday’s game between the Rams and the Wolf Pack marks the 11th in the series between the programs, dating back to the first meeting - a 42-32 Nevada home win - Dec. 20, 1946.
Nevada holds a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series, and a 4-2 mark in games played in Reno.
The Rams have lost two straight in the series, an 82-76 home loss in 2008-09 and a 74-66 road loss in 2007-08.
CSU last defeated Nevada in 1998-99, a 66-49 victory in Fort Collins.
The last time the Rams won in Nevada was during the 1997-98 season, a 63-60 CSU victory.
Wednesday’s meeting will mark the first between the programs since Nevada joined the Mountain West.
A win over Nevada will...
Move CSU’s overall record to 19-4, tying the 1953-54 and 1997-98 teams for the best mark through 23 games.
Extend the Rams current win streak to four games, the third time this season CSU has strung together four or more wins in a row.
Make the 2012-13 squad the fastest CSU team to reach 19 victories in a season. The 1997-98 team won its 19th game on Feb. 12.
Make CSU 6-2 in conference play for the first time as a member of the Mountain West. The last time CSU began league play at 6-2 was as a member of the WAC in 1997-98.
Improve CSU’s record to 5-6 against the Wolf Pack and 3-4 on Nevada’s home court.
Snap the Rams’ two-game losing streak in the series with Nevada.
Even the Rams’ road record at 4-4 on the season. Colorado State was just 3-9 on the road in 2011-12.
The Rams have won three consecutive conference contests - at Fresno State, vs. Boise State and vs. Wyoming - by 10+ points, a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since the 1992-93 season when CSU defeated Hawai’i (82-66), San Diego State (82-67), and Wyoming (92-77) in WAC play.
No other MW team has recorded three straight double-digit victories in conference play this season.
Colorado State is the only team in the Mountain West that can make that claim and one of just six teams nationally, joining Butler, Detroit, Kentucky, Oregon and North Carolina State.
Rams in elite company
Entering Wednesday’s game at Nevada, CSU is one of eight programs nationally to rank in the top-55 in both scoring offense (52nd) and scoring defense (33rd).
Other schools to rank among the national leaders on both lists are: Florida (46th offense/2nd defense), Indiana (2/T-52), Kansas (42/40), Louisville (49/16), Michigan (16/38), Southern Miss. (41/24), and Syracuse (32/34).
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 3.45 ranks fourth in the country behind Valparaiso (3.76), Middle Tennessee State (3.52) and Ohio (3.49).
Combined, the top four schools have a 70-20 record (.778) 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 Wednesday’s game at Nevada.
Hornung, a 6-5 product from Arvada, Colo. Pulls down an average of 4.55 offensive rebounds per game, well ahead of the MW’s No. 2 performer on the offensive glass, Boise State’s Ryan Watkins (3.43 per game).
Nationally, Hornung ranks just behind Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley (4.64), and ahead of South Alabama’s Augustine Rubit (4.43), Murray State’s Ed Daniel (4.29) and Siena’s O.D. Anosike (4.09) who round out the top five.
Hornung’s 91 offensive rebounds in 20 games, have accounted for 102 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 (2.86) and Greg Smith (2.55) rank tied for 88th and tied for 176 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 Feb. 3.
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 19.2 rebounds per game entering Wednesday’s contest at Nevada.
Hornung leads the Rams, pulling down 9.8 rebounds per game, while Iverson averages 9.4.
That total is now tied for sixth in program history for wins in a four-year period, just two 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 3-4 on the road this season, entering the Rams’ matchup Wednesday night at Nevada.
MW Player of the Week Recognitions
Pierce Hornung added a second MW Player of the Week to his resume on Feb. 4. Hornung recorded back-to-back double-doubles to lead the Rams to victory over Boise State (23 points, 13 rebounds) and Wyoming (12 points, 11 rebounds) to extend the Rams’ home court win streak to 26 games. For the week, Hornung averaged 17.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.9 percent (14-of-23) from the field, including 75 percent (3-of-4) from beyond the arc, and registered 11 offensive rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal.
The Colorado State men’s basketball team is idle over the weekend before returning to the court to start the second half of league play at home against preseason favorite San Diego State.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 8 p.m. MT at Moby Arena, and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
San Diego State captured held off the Rams in overtime, 79-72, in the first matchup of the season, Jan. 12 at Viejas Arena. CSU won the last matchup at Moby Arena, 77-60, on Jan. 28, 2012.