(16) New Mexico (22-4) at (22) Colorado State (21-5)
Saturday, February 23, 4 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado.
Television: NBCSN. Home Record: UNM 13-1, CSU 14-0. Away Record: UNM 6-3, CSU
5-5. Neutral Record: UNM 3-0, CSU 2-0. Conference Record: UNM 9-2, CSU 8-3.
Series Record: New Mexico leads, 70-43.
GAME NOTES: Still undefeated at home, the 22nd-ranked Colorado State Rams try
to hold down the fort at Moby Arena on Saturday afternoon as they host 16th-
ranked New Mexico in a Mountain West Conference showdown between the two top
teams in the standings.
Colorado State, which is currently in second place in the MWC with an 8-3
mark, has the luxury of being at home for this contest where they have had
more success than any other team in the league. In fact, not only are the Rams
a perfect 14-0 in their own building, they've rattled off 27 straight home
wins, which is third-longest streak in the nation.
Unfortunately the Rams, who are back in the national rankings this season
after a very long absence, were on the road in Las Vegas earlier this week
where they challenged the Runnin' Rebels and came up short in a 61-59 final at
the Thomas & Mack Center. The defeat snapped a six-game win streak for CSU.
As for the Lobos, they too recently fell to UNLV on the road in Sin City
earlier this month, but have bounced back to claim wins over Fresno State and
Boise State. The latest victory was a 60-50 triumph over the Broncos at home
last weekend, which means not only are the Lobos still in first place in the
standings with a 9-2 mark, they've also had a week to enjoy their status as
The first meeting of the season between these two teams took place in The Pit
where the hosts posted a 66-61 victory in order to remain perfect in league
play after four games at the time. Overall, New Mexico owns a 70-43 edge in
the all-time series, but Colorado State maintains a 30-21 advantage in games
played in Fort Collins.
By no means was it a pretty effort, but it was a win nonetheless for the Lobos
last weekend as they shot just 34.7 percent from the field and turned the ball
over 14 times versus Boise State. Cameron Bairstow paced four players in
double figures with his 16 points, followed by Tony Snell with 12, Jamal
Fenton 11 points off the bench and Kendall Williams 10 for the Lobos. Alex
Kirk tallied only six points, but he was still a force in the paint with 12
rebounds and three blocked shots.
In conference games, the Lobos are limiting the opposition to just 57.8 ppg on
38.3 percent shooting from the field. New Mexico has also benefited from those
teams shooting a mere 85-of-134 (.634) at the free-throw line as well, which
means the Lobos have outscored league foes at the stripe by 70 points in 11
contests. Snell (12.3 ppg), Kirk (10.9 ppg) and Williams (10.5 ppg) all have a
hand in the offense on a regular basis, with Kirk also clearing 8.5 rpg and
rejecting a total of 24 shots to pace the team in those departments.
The game against UNLV came down to the wire a few nights back and while the
Rams had a chance to grab the win in the waning moments, they were unable to
make it happen. While the Runnin' Rebels were willing to use six players off
the bench, CSU put a total of only seven players on the floor and perhaps
suffered because of it. Colton Iverson led the way for the visitors with 14
points and 10 rebounds, followed by Daniel Bejarano and Wes Eikmeier with 12
and 10 points, respectively, as the team shot just 3-of-17 beyond the arc.
Over the course of 11 league bouts, Colorado State has managed to limit the
competition to 62.5 ppg, giving the Rams a scoring advantage of 8.5 ppg
stemming mostly from their efforts at the free-throw line. Dorian Green heads
a list of five players, all starters, scoring in double figures with his 13.3
ppg, although Eikmeier is close behind with 13.2 ppg, and Iverson tallies 12.1
ppg to go along with 10.5 rpg. Green, who has combined with Eikmeier to knock
down 36 3-pointers in league play, is also first on the unit with 52 assists
as he does his best to get his teammates involved in the action.
It is hard for a team to come out and bring the energy and intensity necessary
to sustain a win streak game after game, and while the Rams have done it only
in home dates, the run will come to an end at some point.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 63, Colorado State 61
02/23 10:35:16 ET
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