Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - The top two teams in the Mountain West
Conference square off at The Pit on Wednesday night, as the Colorado State
Rams come calling on the 15th-ranked New Mexico Lobos.
Both teams are having exceptional years, as Colorado State comes in with a
15-3 overall record and a 2-1 mark in conference, while New Mexico is 16-2 and
sports a perfect 3-0 league ledger.
Since dropping a 79-72 decision in overtime at San Diego State in their
Mountain West opener on Jan. 12, the Rams have secured a pair of victories
over Air Force (79-40) and UNLV (66-61), both of which took place at home,
raising CSU's mark in Fort Collins this season to a perfect 11-0. The Rams
however, are just 2-3 in true road games.
The Lobos are in the midst of a three-game win streak, all of which were
against league foes. The team's most recent victory came in a 79-74 overtime
verdict at Boise State on Jan. 16, and UNM is surely happy to be back in
Albuquerque where it is 9-1 this season. The Lobos are in the middle of a run
against quality opponents that will also see them face San Diego State and
Wyoming in the next week.
New Mexico owns a 69-43 series advantage over Colorado State, but the team
split the season series last year with each winning on the road. The Lobos
have never lost to the Rams at home under coach Steve Alford (5-0).
Colorado State is getting it done at both ends of the court this season,
averaging 74.5 ppg while permitting just 59.6 ppg. There are four double-digit
scorers in the fold, all of whom are starters, led by Colton Iverson's 14.4
ppg. Iverson is also one of the team's top rebounders with 9.0 rpg, trailing
only Pierce Hornung's 10.1 rpg. The team as a whole is shooting 45.2 percent
from the field, knocking down 34.1 percent of its 3-point tries along the way,
while the opposition checks in at a mere .384 overall and .314 from long
range. CSU dominates the glass to the tune of a +13.8 rebounding margin.
Dorian Green was high man for the Rams in the recent win over UNLV, netting 24
points while handing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds. He hit four
of the team's five treys in the game, but Colorado State was just 38.9 percent
accurate from the floor overall. Greg Smith added 16 points, and Iverson
pulled down 10 boards. A 19-9 edge in points from the foul line played a
significant role for the Rams in the outcome.
Not quite as productive at either end of the court as their counterpart
tonight, the Lobos are putting up 69.2 ppg while allowing 61.7 ppg. They don't
shoot the ball all that well (.416), but do a good job at the charity stripe
(.734). They play some pretty stingy defense in yielding just a .397 FG
percentage to the opposition, while goading them into more than 14 turnovers
per outing. Kendall Williams (14.4 ppg, 4.6 apg) is the team's leading scorer,
and both Alex Kirk (12.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Tony Snell (12.1 ppg, 2.9 apg) give
the Lobos some additional options. Snell hit for 22 points to help push New
Mexico past Boise State last week, the team as a whole draining 9-of-21 3-
point attempts while also logging a 24-15 edge in points from the foul line
and taking advantage of 16 Bronco turnovers. Hugh Greenwood added 15 points
and seven boards, Williams tallied 11 points to go with six assists, and Kirk
tacked on 10 points while grabbing seven rebounds before fouling out.
The Sports Network