The Rams’ search for their first road win in Mountain West
Conference play will have to wait; the team’s challenge now is to
protect its home court against conference favorites Utah (18-5, 6-2
MWC) and Brigham Young (14-7, 4-4).
The challenge begins in a Valentine’s Day match-up Saturday at
Moby Arena at 7 p.m. CSU comes into the game smarting from a
two-game southern road swing that took the team through losses in
Albuquerque, N.M., and Colorado Springs. The latter, to the
surprising Air Force Falcons, marked the first time since the
1988-89 season that CSU had been swept in a season series against
Harsh road trips aside, head coach Dale Layer said his team is
centered on Saturday’s game.
“Our focus right now is on Utah,” Layer said in a postgame
interview following the 44-52 loss at Air Force.
With 7-foot center Matt Nelson expected to sit out his fourth
consecutive game with a knee injury, the Rams will look for
consistent scoring from forward Matt Williams, whose 11.1 points
per game are second on the team to Nelson’s 14.6, and the weekly
improvement from the team’s trio of freshmen: Dwight Boatner,
Phillip Thomasson and Stephen Verwers.
“They haven’t just been given minutes, they’ve earned their
minutes,” Layer said of the trio whose playing time has increased
Another source for offense could be sophomore Freddy Robinson
who showed flashes of offensive brilliance in Monday’s loss at Air
“Freddy came up big for us (Monday night),” Layer said of the
forward who posted a team-high 15 points in the loss. “He showed us
Utah’s motivation may go beyond winning a conference game as the
team’s head coach, Rick Majerus announced Wednesday that he would
not return to the bench this season, and possibly ever, due to
reoccurring heart problems.
“There’s always that motivation,” said Utah guard Nick Jacobson
of winning one for Majerus. “But our focus needs to be on (Colorado
State), not on coach.”
In the teams’ last meeting Jan. 19 at the Huntsman Center in
Salt Lake City, Jacobson led the Utes to a 67-49 win scoring 18
points, while Richard Chaney added 16.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the first 500 women through the
doors will receive a free floral gift.
Hopefully, the Rams can give fans a similar heart-warming