March 9, 2012
Colorado State (4) vs. No. 18/21 San Diego State (1) | Game 31 | MW Championship Semifinals
|COLORADO STATE RAMS||SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS|
|CSU STATISTICAL LEADERS||SDSU STATISTICAL LEADERS|
The No. 4-seeded Colorado State Rams advanced to the semifinal round of the 2012 Conoco MW Championship where they will face No. 1-seeded San Diego State Friday.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Aztecs is set for 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT and the game will be broadcast live in high definition on CBS Sports Network.
Todd Harris (play-by-play) and Steve Lappas (analyst) will call the action courtside. The game can be found on Comcast Digital Cable (412/846), DirecTV (613) and Dish Network (152).
Brian Roth will have the call on the Colorado State Sports Network, 560 AM KLZ (Denver) and 600 AM KCOL (Fort Collins).
Streaming audio and live stats are available at CSURams.com.
The tournament field
The top four seeds advanced in their respective quarterfinal matchups, with No. 1 SDSU beating No. 8 Boise State (65-62), No. 2 New Mexico defeating No. 7 Air Force (79-64), No. 3 UNLV downing No. 6 Wyoming (56-48), and CSU routing TCU (81-60) in the 4-5 matchup.
Friday's first semifinal pits Colorado State (20-10) vs. San Diego State (25-6) at 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT.
The second matchup of the day matches New Mexico ( 25-6) and host UNLV (26-7) at 8:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. MT.
The winner of each semifinal matchup will advance to Saturday's championship game, which is slated to tip at 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT. The championship will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
Colorado State Quick Hits
Colorado State's basketball history dates back to 1902, and the 2010-11 season marks the 108th for the program. The Rams are 1,129-1,168 (.491) in 2,297 games entering Friday's semifinal round of the 2012 Conoco MW Championship.
Colorado State closed the regular season with a 19-10 record, becoming the 11th team in program history to reach the 19-win mark.
The Rams finished the Mountain West race alone in fourth place in the league standings with an 8-6 mark.
The Rams' quarterfinal-round win over fifth-seeded TCU gave the CSU 20 wins on the season, marking the seventh 20-win season in program history.
CSU boasts the No. 4-rated strength of schedule in the nation, as ranked by the NCAA through games played March 5. It is the top mark in the Mountain West.
Colorado State also owns a strong Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) score of 21. The RPI is one metric used by the NCAA tournament committee when selecting at-large participants in the 68-team bracket.
Pierce Hornung's 14-rebound performance in the Rams' quarterfinal victory over TCU set a new MW tourney record for the Rams, eclipsing the 13 rebounds pulled down by former NBA first-round selection Jason Smith against SDSU in the 2007 first round.
Dorian Green sunk a pair of free-throws at the 7:48 mark of the second half to become the 19th player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Green has 1,002 career points entering Friday's semifinal matchup with San Diego State.
The Rams rank as on of the most efficient offensive teams in the country, leading the Mountain West in field-goal percentage (.475), three-point percentage (.407), and free-throw percentage (.769) through the end of the regular season.
Colorado State's roster features a rare combination of youth and experience in 2011-12, with just two seniors - Kaipo Sabas and Will Bell - on the squad, and five juniors that have combined to play 472 career games in the green and gold.
The 2011-12 CSU basketball team turned in one of the best home records in program history, going 14-1 and rattling off 13 straight wins at Moby Arena to close out the 2011-12 regular season.
The Rams' 13-game win streak at Moby Arena ranks tied for 13th nationally.
The Rams completed a 7-0 mark at Moby Arena in Mountain West play, joining CSU's nationally ranked volleyball team, and the Rams' resurgent women's program to combine for a 21-0 mark at Moby Arena against league foes in 2011-12.
Colorado State posted a 14-1 mark at home in 2011-12, setting a Moby Arena record for single-season winning percentage at .933. The previous record was set during the 1989-90 season when the Rams went 13-1 (.929) at Moby Arena.
Colorado State faced a school-record four different ranked teams in 2011-12, playing six games against top-25 opponents, the second-largest total in program history behind the 1950-51 squad that played four games each against ranked foes from BYU and Wyoming.
The Rams defeated three ranked teams throughout the 2011-12 season, establishing a school record for most victories over top-25 opponents in a single season.
Colorado State won eight consecutive games from Dec. 19 through Jan. 17, tying for the fifth-longest win streak in program history.
Colorado State posted an impressive mark against its Front Range rivals - Air Force, Colorado, Denver, Northern Colorado and Wyoming - during the 2011-12 season, finishing 6-1 in those contests.
Colorado State crowds at Moby Arena averaged more than 4,000 fans per game (4,193) for the second consecutive season, the first time CSU crowds have reached the 4,000-fan plateau in consecutive years since 2005-06 (4,303) and 2006-07 (4,620).
The Rams competed in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off in 2011-12, posting a 3-1 mark, including a pair of home victories over UTEP and Manhattan in the consolation rounds at Moby Arena.
CSU took home the tournament title at the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, opening with a road victory over host UTEP before defeating Jacksonville State in the tournament championship.
About San Diego State
The top-seeded, and No. 18/21-ranked, Aztecs enter Friday's semifinal of the MW tournament with a 25-6 record. The Aztecs earned the top seed in the tournament by virtue of a tie breaker over NO. 2 New Mexico, who also finished 10-4 in league play to earn a share of the league regular-season title.
The Aztecs have are coming off of a thrilling 65-62 victory over No. 8-seeded Boise State, thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin.
Head coach Steve Fisher is in his 13th season at San Diego State, where he is 257-158. Fisher is in his 21st full season overall, with a 441-240 record and three Final Four appearances to his credit.
The Aztecs entered play this week with the No. 1 and No. 4 scorers in the MW, in sophomore guard Jamaal Franklin (17.1 ppg) - the 2012 MW Player of the Year - and junior guard Chase Tapley (15.2). Sophomore guard Xavier Thames (10.5) also averaged double-figures scoring through the end of the regular season.
Jamaal Franklin ranks fourth in the league in rebounding (8.0 rpg), just behind CSU's Pierce Hornung (8.3).
As a team, the Aztecs ended the season ranked fifth in the MW in scoring offense (70.8 ppg), and fourth in scoring defense (62.9). SDSU ranks 30th nationally, and second in the MW, in field-goal percentage defense holding opponents to 39.8 percent shooting.
Series vs. SDSU
Friday's matchup between the Rams and Aztecs marks the 69th in the series between the programs.
The series between the schools dates back to 1961-62 season, when CSU picked up a 71-57 road victory on Dec. 30, 1961.
The programs have faced off at least twice each season as conference foes since 1978-79, with the exception of 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons in which they competed in different divisions of the Western Athletic Conference.
Colorado State leads the series, 36-32.
In 29 matchups since the formation of the Mountain West in 1999-2000, the Rams trail 20-9.
The Rams and Aztecs have met three times on a neutral floor - all in the MW tournament quarterfinal rounds - with the Aztecs holding a 2-1 advantage. No. 1 SDSU beat No. 8 CSU, 64-52, at 2006 MW tournament in Denver, Colo. No. 6 CSU upset No. 3 SDSU, 69-64, in Las Vegas in 2007, and the fourth-seeded Aztecs escaped with a 72-71 win over No. 5 CSU in 2010.
The Rams and Aztecs split two matchups during the regular season, each winning on their home court.
CSU cruised to a 17-point victory, 77-60, in the first matchup at Moby Arena against then-No. 13/12-ranked Aztecs.
The then-No. 24/25-ranked Aztecs got even with a 74-66 win at Viejas Arena in the second matchup of the year, overcoming a halftime deficit against the Rams.
Head Coach Tim Miles is 1-10 vs. SDSU in his fifth season at CSU.
In the first meeting...
CSU used a 22-6 run midway though the first half to turn an early three-point deficit into a 13-point advantage, and never looked back en route to the 77-60 win.
The win snapped SDSU 11-game in streak and marked CSU's first victory over a ranked opponent since 2004, a feat the Rams accomplished twice more this season.
Junior guard Wes Eikmeier led the Rams with 19 points, going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line as part of CSU's MW-record 23-for-23 effort at the stripe.
Will Bell (17 points), Dorian Green (12) and Kaipo Sabas (10) all finished in double-figures scoring, while Pierce Hornung pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go along with eight points. Greg Smith added eight points and 8 boards for CSU.
SDSU was led by MW Player of the Year Jamaal Franklin who tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds in the contest. Chase Tapley and Xavier Thames each chipped in with 10 points.
In the second meeting...
CSU got off to a strong start, leading for all but three minutes of the opening half, and held a lead as late as the 8:11 mark in the second.
A second-half SDSU rebounding edge and late foul trouble doomed CSU down the stretch, as SDSU rallied for a 74-66 home win over the Rams.
Dorian Green tied for team-high scoring honors (Wes Eikmeier) with 14 points and added seven rebounds for the Rams.
Pierce Hornung also scored in double digits for the Rams, finishing just shy of a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds.
SDSU was led by Jamaal Franklin who posted an impressive line with 31 points and 16 rebounds.
A win over SDSU will...
Move the Rams to 21-10 overall, and advance CSU to the championship game of the MW tournament against either No. 2 New Mexico or No. 3 UNLV.
Give CSU a 21st victory on the season, tying for the fourth-best win total in program history.
Move the all-time series between the schools to 37-32 in favor of Colorado State.
Advance Colorado State to the championship game of the Mountain West tournament for the first time since CSU took home the title as a No. 6 six seed in 2002-03.
Even Colorado State's record in semifinal matchups to 2-2. The Rams have lost their last two semifinal games (2004 and 2007)since defeating No. 2-seeded BYU en route to the tourney championship in 2003.
Push the Rams overall win streak to four games, including a pair of victories over UNLV and Air Force to close out the regular season, and the Rams' quarterfinal victory over No. 5-seeded TCU.
Improve CSU to 4-0 on the season in neutral-site games. The Rams defeated SMU at Stanford's Maples Pavilion to open the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off in early November, and downed Jacksonville State at UTEP's Don Haskins Center at the Bank of the West Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational in late December.
A loss to SDSU will...
Drop the Rams to 20-11 overall, and eliminate CSU from the 2012 MW Championship.
Move the all-time series between the schools 36-33 in favor of Colorado State.
Hand CSU a third consecutive loss in the semifinal round of the MW tournament.
Drop Colorado State's record in MW tournament semifinal games to 1-3.
Halt the Rams' current win streak at three games.
Drop the Rams to 3-1 in 2011-12 in neutral-site games.
With a victory, Colorado State would continue play in the MW tournament, advancing to play either No. 2 New Mexico or No. 3 UNLV at 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT on Saturday in the 2012 Conoco MW Championship game.
With a loss, the Rams would return to Fort Collins and await their fate during the postseason selection shows on Sunday evening.
Milestone watch: Entering MW semifinals...
Will Bell: needs 17 points to reach 350 in two seasons in a Rams uniform since transferring to CSU from Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, Colo.
Jesse Carr: closing in on 200 career assists, with 198 helpers to date.
Wes Eikmeier: is 12 points shy of 750 career points in a CSU uniform, and is just seven assist shy of 150 for his DI career at CSU (125) and Iowa State (18).
Dorian Green: is approaching 250-career assists (245) and 300 rebounds (282).
Pierce Hornung: is 17 rebounds shy of 500 total boards, and needs. Hornung is also closing in on 450 career points (430) and 50 career blocks (41).
Kaipo Sabas: is 10 points shy of 150 for his career at CSU.
Greg Smith: closing in on milestones for career assists and steals, needing five helpers for 100 and nine takeaways for 50. Also needs 45 points for 700.
Records update: Entering MW semifinals...
Single-Season Three-Point Percentage: .449 - Eighth on the Rams' single-season list, behind Jemeel Mahmud (.465 in 1997) and just ahead of David Turcotte (.431 in 1987).
Single-Season Points: 478 - is 70 points shy of the Barry Young (548 in 1978) for 10th on the list.
Single-Season Field-Goal Attempts: 392 - tied with David Turcotte (1988) for 10th in a single season in program history with 392, and is just 11 attempts behind No. 7 David Evans with 403 attempts in 1995-96.
Career Free-Throw Percentage: .869 - Ranks second at CSU, just behind No. 1 Ryan Yoder (1991-94) who hit at a .889 clip from the stripe during his career.
Single-Season Free-Throw Percentage: .877 - Ranks sixth at CSU, just behind No. 5 Ryan Yoder, who hit at a .880 clip from the stripe in 1991-92.
Career Points: 1,002 - Ranks 19th all-time at CSU, and is just behind No. 18 John Sivesind (1,009) and No. 17 Marcus Walker (1,009). Andy Birley (2000-03) ranks 16th with 1,040 points.
Career Assists: 246 - 48 assists shy of tying Rich Strong (1983-86) for 10th on the Rams' career assists list at 294, and will likely finish his career as just the 10th player in CSU history with at least 300 career helpers.
Three-Pointers Made: 140 - Ranks seventh in CSU history and is four treys shy of No. 6 Andre McFarland (144 from 2008-11), and just 14 away from tying Mark Meredith (154 1990-91) for third on the list.
Three-Pointers Attempted: 375 - 11 three-point attempts from tying David Evans (1995-96) for fourth on the all-time list.
Career Rebounds: 483 - As a junior, needs just 155 rebounds to reach the Rams' career top-10 list.
Single-Season Rebounds: 204 - 47 rebounds shy of the Rams' single-season top 10 - Pat Durham (251 in 1989).
Career Field-Goal Percentage: .605 - Ranks third in CSU annals with a career field-goal percentage of .605, just ahead of Stuart Creason, who shot 60.2 percent from the field from 2005-08, and behind Matt Nelson who shot 61.6 percent (2002-05) during his career.
Single-Season Field-Goal Percentage: .640 - Ranks third on the Rams' single-season charts, below Matt Nelson (.643 in 2003) and ahead of Michael Harrison (.623 in 2006).
Career Steals: 114 - Fifth on the Rams' all-time steals list, seven behind No. 3 Adam Nigon (2008-11) and two shy of No. 4 David Evans (1995-96).
Single-Season Steals: 47 - One steals shy of tying Milt Palacio (1998), Delmonte Madison (1996) and Eric Friehauf (1988) for eighth in a single-season at CSU.
Career Three-Point Percentage: .483 - Ranks second on the career list, behind Joel Tribelhorn (.535 in 1989) and ahead of Trent Shippen (.480 from 1988-89).
Single-Season Three-Point Percentage: .474 - Fourth on the Rams' single-season list, behind John Sivesind (.477 in 2000) and just ahead of Mark Meredith (.469 in 1990).
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