The Colorado State men’s basketball team continues play Friday in the semifinal round at the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
No. 2-seeded Colorado State will matchup up against No. 3-seeded UNLV, with a spot in the Saturday’s conference championship game on the line.
The 25-7 (11-5 MW) Rams, receiving votes in both national polls, advanced to the semifinals with a 67-61 victory over No. 7 Fresno State in Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
UNLV (24-8, 10-6 MW) defeated No. 6-seeded Air Force, 72-56, behind a 23-point effort from freshman forward Anthony Bennett.
Tipoff between the Rams and the Runnin’ Rebels is set for 9:30 p.m. MT/8:30 p.m. PT in the second semifinal matchup on Friday evening. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.
Colorado State split two matchups with UNLV during the regular season, with each program winning on its home court. The Rams downed the Runnin’ Rebels, 66-61, at Moby Arena on Jan. 19, thanks to 24 points, five rebounds and five assists from senior guard Dorian Green. UNLV slipped past the Rams a month later, when senior guard Anthony Marshall’s jumper with 7 seconds remaining lifted the Runnin’ Rebels to a 61-59 win at the Thomas & Mack Center.
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 1,154-1,177 (.495) in 2,331 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 game against the Bahamas All-Stars, winning 95-80 behind a double-double (18 points, 14 rebounds) from Colton Iverson.
Colorado State enters Friday’s game with a 25-7 record (11-5 MW), the program’s second consecutive 20-win season and the eighth in program history.
Colorado State’s 25 victories are a program record, surpassing the mark of 23 wins set the 1988-89 program that went 23-10.
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. CSU reached 13-2 to close non-conference play, tying the program’s best 15-game mark, with the 1953-54 team.
From Nov. 21, 2011, an 85-75 win over UTSA, to Feb. 23, 2012, a 66-60 win over No. RV/22 San Diego State, Colorado State men’s basketball won 27 consecutive home games at Moby Arena, a program record for consecutive home victories. The streak grew to be the third-longest active streak in the nation before the Rams’ loss to then-No. 16/16 New Mexico (91-82) on Feb. 23.
Colorado State enters play this week ranked as the No. 4 rebounding team in the nation, pulling down 40.6 boards per game, leading the NCAA in rebounding margin with an average differential of 12.4 rebounds per game, and pulling down more defensive rebounds (28.3) per game than any team in the nation. The team has outrebounded its opponents in 29 of 31 contests this season.
The Rams were impressive at home in 2012-13, racking up a school-record mark of 16-1 at Moby Arena. The 16 home victories established a new mark for most home wins in a single-year, surpassing the 15 home wins by the 1987-88 squad.
Colorado State is 6-6 on the road in 2012-13, the most road wins for the Rams since going 6-5 away from home in 2010-11.
Overall, the Rams are 9-6 away from Moby Arena, having captured three neutral-court victories this season. The Rams earned 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, before downing Fresno State, 67-61, in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Reese’s Mountain West Championships at the Thomas & Mack Center.
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.
The No. 3-seeded Runnin’ Rebels own a 24-8 record, and finished 10-6 in MW play, a game behind CSU.
UNLV advanced to Friday’s semifinal matchup after downing Air Force 72-56 on Wednesday.
The Runnin’ Rebels shot 51 percent from the floor (30-of-59) in their first-round matchup, while being led by all-MW first-team selection and Freshman of the Year Anthony Bennett who connected on 10 of his 14 attempts. He finished the game with 23 points and seven boards.
In his first year at UNLV, Bennett led the team in scoring (15.9), rebounding (8.1) and field-goal percentage (52.7)
Senior guard Anthony Marshall, a second-team all-MW and all-defensive team selection, leads the league in assists (5.9 apg) and ranks third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2) throughout the season.
Marshall was joined by sophomore forward Khem Birch on the all-defensive team. Birch has recorded 62 blocks on the season.
Colorado State and UNLV rank first and third, respectively, in scoring during league play. The Runnin’ Rebels have averaged 72.1 points per conference outing as compared to the Rams’ 73.6 average.
The Runnin’ Rebels lead the Mountain West in defensive field-goal percentage, holding teams to just 38.5 percent during league play.
UNLV also leads the conference in blocked shots (5.9), assists (16.6) and steals (7.5).
Head Coach Dave Rice recorded his 50th win Wednesday in UNLV’s first-round victory. Rice owns a 50-17 record during his two years with the school.
Series vs. UNLV
Friday’s semifinal matchup marks the 46th meeting between the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels.
UNLV holds a 34-11 advantage in the all-time series and 2-1 edge in games played in the Mountain West tournament.
CSU and UNLV first met on the hardwood on Jan. 12, 1979, a 90-85 UNLV victory in Fort Collins.
The long-time conference rivals have competed 37 times as members of the WAC and Mountain West.
As charter members of the Mountain West, the Rams and Runnin’ Rebels have competed 30 times, with UNLV holding a 23-9 advantage.
A win over UNLV will...
Extend the program record for wins in a season to 26, three more than the previous high set by the 1988-89 squad that totaled 23 wins en route to a Western Athletic Conference championship and trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Make the Rams 10-12 all-time in the Mountain West tournament.
Advance the Rams to the championship game of the MW tournament for the second time in program history. The Rams came out victories in their first trip to the championship game in 2003, a 62-61 victory over the Runnin’ Rebels.
Improve Colorado State to 2-3 in the semifinal round of the Mountain West tournament.
Improve CSU’s record against the Runnin’ Rebels to 34-12 and 2-2 in games played in the Mountain West tournament.
Give the Colorado State program 81 victories in the last four years, tying the program’s all-time mark for wins in a four-year period (1987-88 to 1990-91).
CSU (25-7, 11-5 MW) looks to advance to the championship game of the 2013 Reese’s MW Championships, where they would face off against winner of the matchup between No. 1 New Mexico and No. 4 San Diego State.
Should the Rams advance, the championship game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT tipoff. The title matchup will be televised nationally on CBS.