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Game notes: CSU basketball travels to UCLA for Tuesday tilt

Dec. 21, 2009

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Game 12:  Colorado State at UCLA
Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 | 7:30 p.m. MT | Los Angeles, Calif. | Pauley Pavilion (12,819)

Up next
The Colorado State men’s basketball team travels to Los Angeles, Calif., to face off against perennial power UCLA on Tuesday evening at Pauley Pavilion.  It is Colorado State’s first game away from the Centennial State since Nov. 20 at Indiana State. 

Colorado State (8-3) is coming off of a 64-56 home victory over Northern Arizona on Sunday evening.  The win capped a four-game homestand for Colorado State, and pushed CSU’s home win streak to 6-0 to begin the season.  Overall, the Rams have won four straight, and six of seven dating back to their loss at Indiana State. 

UCLA enters Tuesday’s matchup with an overall record of 3-7, and is coming off of an 84-73 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon.  Overall the Bruins have lost six of their last seven dating back to a Nov. 23 home victory over Pepperdine. 

Tipoff between the Rams and the Bruins is set for 8:30 p.m. MT historic Pauley Pavilion.

Fans can listen to the action live on the Colorado State Sports Network. Jerry Schemmel will call all the action courtside. The game will be carried on flagship KLZ (560 AM) in Denver and on KCOL (600 AM), locally. Rams fans worldwide can listen to the action live streaming on CSURams.com/allaccess.

Live statistics are available by clicking the “GameTracker” logo on the men’s basketball “Schedule/Results” page on CSURams.com. 

Streaming video will also be available, free of charge.  Fans can view the video stream by clicking on the “All-Access” button on the front page of UCLABruins.com, and selecting the contest from the “Live Events” tab. 

About the Bruins
UCLA enters Tuesday’s contest with an overall record of 3-7 record, but the Bruins are  3-2 at the Pauley Pavilion on the seasons. On Saturday, the Bruins fell at Notre Dame, 84-73, their sixth loss in the past seven games. Despite the poor start, however, UCLA remains one of the most storied programs in NCAA history, winning more national championships than any other team.

Head Coach Ben Howland enters Tuesday with a 155-61 record in his seven seasons in Los Angeles. The Bruins have 10 players back from last year’s squad, who made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and finished the season ranked No. 18 in both the AP and USA Today polls.

Still, Howland leads a young team made up of just two juniors and three seniors on the 18-player roster. Sophomore Malcolm Lee leads the Bruins with 15.1 points per game. Following Lee is senior Michael Roll (14.5 points). UCLA’s top three point scorers are all shooting better than 45 percent from the floor, including Reeves Nelson (60.7 percent).

Series vs. UCLA
The Rams and Bruins will meet for the first time in exactly a decade. The teams have each won three games in the series, with CSU winning the most recent, a 55-54 victory at the Pearl Harbor Classic on Dec. 22, 1999. The Rams are 1-3 playing in Los Angeles, with their only win, a 69-68 decision, coming in during the 1961-62 season against legendary coach John Wooden.  UCLA reached the Final 4 that season, losing to eventual champion Cincinnati in the national semifinals. 

Strong at home
With a win Sunday against Northern Arizona, the Rams improved to 6-0 at Moby Arena to start the season.  The Rams won just six home games all last season, and just three the season before.

Through the years, however, Moby Arena has been a tough environment for opposing teams. CSU has won 70 percent (435-188) of its games at Moby Arena. Since the 2002-03 season, the Rams have had several winning streaks to start their home season: 2002-03, 13 consecutive; 2004-05, 9; 2005-06, 8; and 2006-07, 6.

Hot start
Coach Miles has led the Rams to an 8-3 start to open the 2009-10 season, the best start for CSU through 11 games since the 2006-07 season (9-2).  The Rams are now just one win shy of their entire win total from the 2008-09 season. 

Rams win streaks
With Colorado State’s 64-56 victory Sunday night against Northern Arizona, the Rams established a new high for consecutive wins in the Tim Miles era (four straight) and improved to 6-0 at home to start the season.  The Rams’ four consecutive victories are the most by a CSU squad since the 2006-07 team rattled off nine straight victories.  During that stretch, the Rams have picked up home victories against Denver (64-59), Colorado (77-62), Montana (62-61) and NAU.  CSU’s home win streak also includes victories over Mayville State (79-42) and San Francisco (91-75, 2ot). 

Rams on the road
Colorado State visits UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion in search of the Rams’ first non-conference road victory since a 74-58 victory over host Hawaii on Dec. 27, 2008, in the Rainbow Classic.  The Rams have lost their last two non-conference road games, falling at Oregon (68-55) in the BTI Tip-off tournament championship on Nov. 15, and at Indiana State (65-60) in the MWC/MVC challenge on Nov. 20.  CSU’s last overall road victory came last season at Air Force, a 71-66 triumph, on Feb. 21, 2009. 

Standing out during the streak
During Colorado State’s four-game winning streak no players have stood out more for the Rams than freshman G Dorian Green, junior F Travis Franklin, and junior G Adam Nigon.  Green had led the team in scoring at 16.5 points per game, while averaging 3.8 rebounds per contest.  Franklin ranks right behind Green, pouring in 15.5 points per game.  He leads the team in rebounding at 5.8 per contest.  The duo has combined to hit 48 of 66 attempts from the free-throw line during that stretch.  Nigon, who entered this season with a career scoring average of 2.9 ppg., is also in double-figures scoring at a clip of 10.3 points per game during the Rams’ winning streak.  He is leading the Rams in three-point shooting, hitting 8-of-17 attempts for a .471 percentage.  Green is the only other player to hit a trey for the Rams during that stretch, hitting 40 percent (8-for-20) from beyond the arc.  Nigon also leads the Rams in assists during CSU’s streak, dishing out 12 helpers, more than double any other player on the team.

Carr back on the road
Sophomore G Jesse Carr, sidelined since last February with a hip injury, saw his first action of the 2009-10 season on Sunday against Northern Arizona.  Carr, who missed the final six games of 2008-09 and the first 10 games this season, started quickly, assisting a Travis Busch basket just seconds after being inserted into the Rams’ lineup at the 5:32 mark of the first half.  Carr played 8 minutes in the contest, recording one assist, one rebound and tallying two points on 2-for-4 shooting from the free-throw line.  

Nigon heating up
Junior Adam Nigon entered the season averaging 2.87 points per contest through two seasons. This year, the guard is averaging 8.2 points, and has already eclipsed his point total from all of last season. Nigon is shooting at a 41 percent clip from both the floor and three-point range. During a five-game stretch from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12, Nigon averaged 11.6 points, including a career-high 17 against Montana, helping the Rams to a 4-1 record during that stretch. 

Seeing double
Junior F Travis Franklin recorded his second career double-double performance in the Rams’ victory over rival Colorado (Dec. 10).  Franklin tallied 22 points, his second 20-point effort of the season, and capped off the double-double performance with 10 rebounds to help CSU to the 77-62 victory.  Franklin shot 7-for-9 from the field and 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, while adding a block and two steals against the Buffs.  Franklin also recorded a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds) nine days earlier in the Rams’ 70-63 loss at Northern Colorado (Dec.1).  

Seeing double, part two
Freshman F Greg Smith recorded his first-career double-double on Sunday in the Rams’ victory over Northern Arizona.  Smith, playing in just the seventh game of his career at CSU, tallied 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Rams to the 64-56 victory. 

Since 1902
The 2009-10 season marks the 106th in the history of the Colorado State men’s basketball program.  The Rams are 1,082-1,132 (.489) in 2,214 games all-time, entering Tuesday’s contest vs. UCLA.

Switching it up
Tim Miles has used four different starting lineups in five games, between Dec. 1 and Sunday vs. NAU.  The Rams posted a 4-1 record in those contests.  Overall on the season, Miles has used five different lineups, with guards Dorian Green and Adam Nigon the only players to have started all 11 games entering Tuesday’s game at UCLA.  More info on CSU’s starting lineups is available at the bottom of Page 8 of this release.    

End of another ironman streak
Sidelined by back stiffness, junior Andre McFarland has missed Colorado State’s last three games, victories over CU (77-62), Montana (62-61) and Northern Arizona (64-56).  Since the beginning of his true freshman season, 2007-08, McFarland had played in all 71 CSU games prior to the game against CU on Dec. 10. 

Perfect with Nigon
Adam Nigon’s career-high 17 points vs. Montana (Dec. 12) marked the fifth time this season that the junior has scored in double figures. In those games, the Rams are 5-0. Nigon has scored in double figures seven times in his career, with each resulting in a CSU victory.

Against the state of Colorado
With the Rams’ win over CU (Dec. 10), Colorado State improved to 6-2 against NCAA Division I teams from Colorado at Moby Arena under Tim Miles. CSU is 2-0 against DU, 1-1 against Air Force, 1-1 against the Buffs, and 1-0 against Northern Colorado.

Defending the three
Colorado State ranks among the top schools in the nation in terms of three-point defense.  The Rams are holding opponents to 28 percent from long range, which leads the MWC and ranks 24th nationally. 

Balanced rebounding attack
Despite only having four 10-plus rebounding efforts this season, the Rams entered this week having three players ranked in the top 13 in the MWC in rebounding average: Franklin (6.2), eighth; Ogide (5.6), 13th; and Hornung (5.6), 13th. As a team, Colorado State ranks tied for third in the MWC pulling down 37.8 boards per game.  The Rams’ are outrebounding opponents by 6.9 per game, the second-highest rebounding margin in the league (SDSU, +8.2). 

Rams vs. non-conference foes
Entering Tuesday’s contest at UCLA, CSU has posted a record of 95-54 (.638) against non-MWC opponents since the formation of the Mountain West Conference in 1999.

Rams hot in home openers
The Rams’ 79-42 win over Mayville State pushed the program’s streak to 29 consecutive victories in home-opening contests at Moby Arena.  Under Head Coach Tim Miles, the Rams are now 3-0, having picked up home-opening victories over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (73-48) and Montana (85-55), in 2007-08 and 2008-09, respectively.  Colorado State’s last home-opening loss came at the hands of Oklahoma State, a 69-64 setback on Dec. 8, 1980. All-time, CSU is 41-4 in home-opening games at Moby Arena, dating back to the program’s first game in the venue, a 109-70 victory over New Mexico State on Jan. 24, 1966.   

Scoring for the Rams
Freshman G Dorian Green and junior F Travis Franklin rank 1-2 for the Rams in terms of scoring through 11 games this season. Green has scored in double figures in nine of his first 11 collegiate contests as a true freshman, while Franklin has reached double-figure scoring in five of his last six game, averaging 16.0 points per game and helping the Rams to a 5-1 mark during that stretch. 

Green means go
Entering Tuesday’s contest at UCLA, freshman G Dorian Green has led Colorado State in scoring in four of the last eight contests, tallying 18 points at Indiana State, pouring in 17 more vs. Mayville State, adding 13 at Northern Colorado, and scoring 18 vs. Montana. He also added 17 points, second on the team, against San Francisco, nine points in the Rams’ victory over DU, a season-best 21 to help the Rams dispatch arch rival Colorado, and an 18-point effort against NAU.  Through 11 games this season, Green is the only player to pace the Rams in scoring in back-to-back contests.  He currently leads the team in scoring, averaging 15.2 points per game.  That ranks ninth overall in the MWC and first among freshmen.   

Busch back for the Rams
Senior F Travis Busch, returning from an ACL injury that sidelined the Minnesota transfer for the first seven games of his career at CSU, saw his first action in a Rams uniform on Dec. 5 vs. DU.  Busch scored seven points and recorded one rebound and one assist in 19 minutes of action.

McFarland climbing the three-point charts
For his career at Colorado State, McFarland has hit 113 three-pointers, just seven shy of cracking the program’s top-10 list.  David Turcotte (1984-88) currently holds the 10th spot with 120 career three-pointers.  McFarland’s career three-point percentage of .426 currently ranks ninth, behind Turcotte, in the Rams’ record book.  

Freshmen strong in debuts
Freshmen Dorian Green and Pierce Hornung impressed in their first weekend of action at the BTI Tip-off tournament (Nov. 13-15).  Green started all three games for the Rams at point guard and wasted no time making his mark, with 16 points, six rebounds, and five assists in the Rams’ opening game vs. UC Davis.  He earned all-tourney honors after averaging 12 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. 

Hornung looked sharp, pulling down two rebounds, and recording four assists and three steals in 23 minutes in his first collegiate game against the Aggies.  He added a pair of blocks in the Rams’ win over Winston-Salem State, and closed the weekend with six rebounds, two assists and one steal against the Oregon Ducks. 

Greg Smith, who saw his first action in the Rams’ fifth game of the season, was also impressive in his debut performance, filling up the stat sheet with 10 points, six rebounds three steals, two assists and two blocks. 

The trio looks to make an assault on the CSU freshman records throughout the season.  Entering this week Green was averaging a team-leading 15.2 points per game, which would rank second all-time among freshmen at CSU, between former players Eddie Hughes (15.4 ppg.) and Matt Nelson (14.0 ppg.).  Hornung’s rebounding average of 5.6 per contest also would rank second among freshmen at CSU, just behind Rich Strong, who averaged 6.3 rebounds per game during his freshman year in 1983.
If I can be frank
Junior F Travis Franklin started 10 of CSU’s first 11 contests; he came off the bench against DU (Dec. 5).  Franklin has left his mark at both ends of the court for the Rams. The Baton Rouge, La., native ranks first on the team in rebounding (6.2 rebounds per game) and second on the team in scoring (12.1 points per game), while leading the team in offensive rebounds (32), and free-throw attempts (87).  He entered the week in the top 10 in the MWC in a number of categories, including 13th in scoring, eighth in rebounding and fifth in offensive rebounding (2.9 per game),

Turn up the “D”
Colorado State ranks fourth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring defense entering Tuesday’s game at UCLA.  The Rams are holding opponents to just 61.0 points per game through the first 11 games of the season.  Colorado State also ranks first in the league in holding opponents to just 27.9 percent shooting from three-point range.  Overall, CSU’s opponents are shooting just 39.4 percent from the field this season, which ranks third in the MWC.

Finding his stroke
Junior G Adam Nigon, who entered the 2009-10 season with 11 career three-pointers in two seasons as a Ram, nearly doubled his career numbers in the opening weekend of the season at the BTI Tip-off tournament.  Nigon was impressive for the Rams, connecting on 6-of-13 (.462) attempts from beyond the arc. Nigon’s six three-pointers matched the output from his entire sophomore campaign, and bested his freshman mark by one.  Entering Tuesday’s game at UCLA, Nigon is shooting 40.6 percent (18-for-44) from long range, thanks to a 4-for-7 effort in the Rams’ contest vs. Montana in which Nigon recorded a career-high 17 points. 

On pace for 1,000
Entering the 2009-10 season, junior forward Andre McFarland ranks as the only Colorado State player on pace to reach the 1,000-point milestone for his career.  McFarland - one of just two players (Adam Nigon) to have played in each of Head Coach Tim Miles’ first two seasons at CSU - poured in 525 points as a full-time starter in each of his first two seasons in Fort Collins.  McFarland tallied 266 points (8.3 per game) in 31 starts as a true freshman in 2007-08.  Last season, he averaged 8.4 points per contest, pouring in 259 points as the only Rams player to start all 31 contests. 

In eight games this season, McFarland ranks fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.9 points per contest, while shooting 44 percent (26-of-51) from three-point range. 

Marcus Walker, who completed his playing career at CSU in 2009, is the last Rams player to reach the 1,000-point milestone, tallying an impressive 1,009 points in just two seasons in Fort Collins.

Next on the schedule
Colorado State returns to California, traveling to Fresno for a tilt with the WAC opponent Fresno State on Monday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. MT.  The game will mark  the 18th meeting between the two programs with FSU holding a slim 9-8 advantage. The Bulldogs are 7-0 at home all-time against the Rams.



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