GAME NOTES: The surprising Colorado State Rams return home for a pair of games this week, starting with Monday's instate clash with the Northern Colorado Bears.
Larry Eustachy's first season in Fort Collins could not have started any better, as his Rams have jumped out to a 4-0 start. The team is coming off its most impressive win on the season, knocking off Pac-12 foe Washington on the road this past weekend, 73-55.
B.J. Hill is in his third season at the helm of Northern Colorado. The Bears opened the season with a win at home in Greely over Southwest (N.M.), but have dropped back-to-back games since, falling at Cal Poly (64-53) and then at home against Wyoming (69-60).
This is the oldest rivalry in Rams' history, as these two teams met in Colorado State's first-ever basketball game back in 1901. CSU owns a 63-35 advantage all-time in this series and has won eight of the last 10 meetings. They have also won nine straight over the Bears in Moby Arena.
The Bears knocked down 10 3-pointers, but were outscored 19-4 at the free- throw line and dropped a nine-point decision to the Cowboys at home last week. UNC was led in the scoring column by Paul Garnica, who came off the bench to tally 13 points. Tate Unruh added 12 points, while Derrick Barden finished with nine.
The Bears' offensive numbers look good on the season, but the 80.0 ppg the team is averaging is a bit deceiving considering it put up 127 in the season- opener. UNC has not scored over 60 points since, with a low of 53 in the loss to Cal Poly. Garnica leads the team in the early going, despite not starting. He is shooting 53.8 percent from the field and averaging 11.0 ppg. Tim Huskisson is currently the only other double-digit threat on the team at 10.3 ppg. Connor Osborne and Tevin Svihovec are just below the mark at 9.0 ppg each.
The Rams went on the road last weekend and proved they are going to be a force this season, making light work of the Huskies in their own building. The Rams had balanced scoring with four players finishing in double figures and owned the boards (45-21), with more offensive rebounds (24) than Washington had total. Greg Smith led the way offensively with 15 points. He was followed closely by Dorian Green who had 14 points, and Colton Iverson and Daniel Bejarano, who finished with 13 points apiece. Iverson and Pierce Hornung dominated on the glass, with 12 rebounds each, including 14 combined at the offensive end.
A transfer from the University of Minnesota, Iverson has come in and really fortified Colorado State's low post game. The 6-foot-10, 260-pounder is converting 61.5 percent of his shots on the year, averaging a team-high 16.3 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Green and Smith add to CSU's scoring punch with 10.3 and 10.0 ppg, respectively. Hornung adds just 7.5 ppg to the cause, but is much more valuable on the boards, where he is grabbing a team-high 12.0 rpg.
The Bears don't have a player that matches up well with Iverson down low. What makes Colorado State so dangerous is that the Rams are much more than a one-man-show. Look for another balanced effort and a double-digit win for the home team.
Game Date and Time