Rams look to win at home

Feb 032005
Authors: Scott Bondy

After suffering three more loses in a road swing last week, the men's basketball team returns home Saturday to face the New Mexico Lobos (16-5, 3-3 in the Mountain West Conference).

With all nine of their victories coming at home, the Rams' (9-10, 1-5 in MWC) best chance at victory comes at Moby Arena.

"Everybody plays better at home," said head coach Dale Layer. "But you've got to play your best game to win anywhere."

New Mexico is coming off two conference wins versus UNLV and San Diego State. CSU has lost to both teams.

The Rams' losing streak is currently at four, all of them being conference loses.

The Lobos are led by 6-foot-8-inch forward Danny Granger, a senior averaging 18.7 points per game and nine rebounds. They also have an excellent 3-point threat in Troy Devries, as he knocks down about 59 percent of his shots from 3-point land. As a team, the Lobos lead the conference shooting with 44 percent from behind the arch.

"He's a great player, definitely one that could play in the NBA," said CSU forward Matt Williams of Granger. "He is great with handling the ball, shooting and rebounding. We can't let him get going early. No easy baskets."

The Rams have three players scoring in double figures, with center Matt Nelson continuing to lead the Rams with 15.3 points per game and 5.6 rebounds.

The defense will need to step up, however, to counter the Lobos' shooting attack.

"We're going to be a lot more aggressive," Patterson said. "The guards have to try to push up on (Granger) and be in his face. We need to be in their face and know where him and Devries are at all times."

CSU has played tough in most of its games this year, but the team seems to find ways to let the game escape from under it. That was no exception in the Wyoming game after the Rams gave up a 12-point lead.

"We've been in pretty much every game that we have played, with the exception of Utah," said guard Andrew Patterson. "Balls haven't bounced our way, but we have to make them."

The Rams will miss Williams this weekend against New Mexico with a virus and ankle injury, and he is questionable for the team's game on Monday against Air Force.

Saturday's game will tip off at 8 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net and the theme will be disco night. Various prizes will be given out and the first 100 fans in the door will receive a free T-shirt.

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