Jan 202005
 
Authors: Scott Bondy

After ending its 11-game home winning streak, the CSU men's basketball team will take to the road, looking for its first victory away from Moby Arena against UNLV.

The Rams lost Monday to a talented Utah team, winners of 11 in a row who boast one of the top big men in the nation in Andrew Bogut.

But the loss could be seen as a positive thing for the team.

"(Bogut) is a very good player. I learned a lot from his rebounding and positioning," said freshmen center Stuart Creason. "We also got a good look at a tough Utah team."

For the Rams to be successful on the road this weekend they will need to improve their ball control and keep the Rebels from running away with the game. UNLV is a small but fast team that likes to score fast-break points.

"They're the fastest and most athletic team we play this year," said senior guard Jon Rakiecki. "We're looking to get the ball inside and try not to have quick possessions so we can slow the game down."

Turnovers continue to plague CSU as the Rams average roughly four more turnovers per game than their opponents and have recorded 33 in their last two games. The Rebels average about 15 turnovers per game but have the second-best turnover margin in the Mountain West Conference this season.

UNLV was picked in the MWC preseason poll to finish first, but the team has had a tough start, with a 7-7 record while going 0-2 in the conference. They are led by seniors Odartey Blankson, who is averaging 16.4 points per game and 8.6 rebounds, and Romel Beck, who also averages 16.4 points.

"(UNLV) isn't that good of a shooting team," Creason said. "Hopefully our height will negate their quickness."

The Rams are led by center Matt Nelson with 15.1 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. Senior Matt Williams returned from an injury against Utah and will surely help the Rams against UNLV. He is averaging 12.5 points per game.

The Rams will be even more shorthanded at the guard spot this weekend, however. After Dwight Boatner's departure, senior Nick Ball rolled his ankle in the Utah game and will miss the game on Sunday. Rakiecki, junior Michael Morris and freshman Sean Morris will all share time at the guard spots.

Tip-off for Sunday's game is set for 7:30 p.m. and starts a three-game road trip followed by games at San Diego State and Wyoming.

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