GAME NOTES: The Colorado State Rams try to avoid back-to-back defeats for the second time this season, as they challenge the Fresno State Bulldogs in Mountain West Conference play at the Save Mart Center on Saturday night.
On Wednesday night the Rams, one of six programs in the MWC heading into the weekend with an overall winning percentage better than .750, took on 15th- ranked New Mexico in The Pit and came up short in a 66-61 decision. The setback snapped a brief two-game win streak by a CSU program that is now just 2-2 in conference play.
As for the Bulldogs, they are the only team in the league with an overall losing record, a rarity in college basketball these days to have so many successful programs in one conference. Three nights ago the squad was pitted against Boise State and came up short in a 74-67 decision at home which means FSU is just 4-5 at the Save Mart Center in 2012-13. Now 1-4 in conference play, the Bulldogs have only two victories, one against a Division I foe, since the second week of December.
In terms of the all-time series, the Rams are ahead by a count of 10-8, but in the games played in California since the relationship began back in 1964-65, the Bulldogs are a perfect 8-0.
Colton Iverson fought hard in the paint for the Rams during their meeting with New Mexico earlier in the week, registering a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but it just wasn't enough as CSU took the road loss. Wes Eikmeier led the way in the scoring department with 20 points, followed by Dorian Green with 14, but the team turned the ball over 16 times, shot just 36.8 percent from the field, 28.6 percent beyond the arc and 13-of-23 (.565) at the free- throw line. Oddly enough, Colorado State is one of the top free-throw shooting programs out there with 73.3 percent accuracy, resulting in a scoring advantage of 80 points through 19 games this season. Iverson, who leads the team with 14.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg, happens to be one of the weak links at the stripe with just 66.4 percent accuracy.
Fresno State nailed an impressive 10-of-17 shots beyond the arc on Wednesday night, but still the team came up on the short end against the Broncos because the hosts finished a perfect 26-of-26 at the free-throw line in the meeting. Allen Huddleston led the way for the visitors with 20 points and five assists off the bench, connecting on all but one of his six tries on the perimeter. Tyler Johnson accounted for another 16 points, Marvelle Harris 10 in the losing cause. A very conservative team from an offensive standpoint, the Bulldogs are producing only 60.7 ppg this season which is just fractions of a point ahead of the competition. Last season the team followed the lead set by Kevin Olekaibe, but this year he has become a bit player with just 8.0 ppg and like everyone else is watching Tyler Johnson pace the offense with a mere 11.3 ppg.
The Bulldogs will try to keep the scoring down, but if Eikmeier is able to connect from the perimeter and Iverson has his way in the paint, it still should end up as a win for the Rams.
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