Rams hit the road

Jan 312006
Authors: Paul Baker

After a difficult week of basketball for the Rams, in which they lost two straight home games, they now must journey back onto the road where they've dropped 19 straight conference games.

CSU will travel down I-25 tonight to take on the Air Force Academy, who has the conference's top overall record at 17-3.

The Falcons (5-2 MWC) have been impressive at home, posting an 11-0 record this season. Air Force is led in scoring by their senior guard Antoine Hood, who is averaging 14.5 points to go with 3.5 rebounds a game. Junior forward Jacob Burtschi backs up Hood, averaging 12.6 points and a team-leading 6.5 rebounds per game.

"Their offense is a little different from what we see most of the year. They run a lot of back door cuts which we will have to watch out for," senior Micheal Morris said. "We need to keep our pressure high and key on their 3-point shooters."

The Falcons are third in the nation in 3-point field goal percentage, converting on 42 percent of their attempts. They also lead the nation in scoring defense, giving up only 53.0 points per game.

The Rams (12-8, 1-6 MWC) will be looking to get their first win against the Falcons since the MWC Tournament in 2004, and their first win in Clune Arena since the 2001-02 season.

CSU's sophomore standout Jason Smith continues to lead the team in scoring and rebounding, with 17.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, respectively.

"We need to take advantage of our size inside against them," head coach Dale Layer said. "They're a physical team that creates a lot of turnovers. We'll have to be sure with the ball."

The Rams must fix the problems they have on the defensive side of the ball to have any chance at a win against the Falcons. On the season, CSU is averaging 76.2 points per game and giving up 71.3. But in the last seven games, the Rams have given up 79.3 points per game. They have won only one game during that stretch.

"At the beginning of the year we had a little more confidence than we do now, our press was a little more sharp." said sophomore center Stuart Creason. "We've gotten away from taking care of the ball."

The Rams will need to be on their game tonight as they try to snap the conference road losing streak. Tip-off for the game is set for 7:05 p.m. and can be heard on the radio by tuning into 600 AM KCOL.

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