Mar 022006
 
Authors: Paul Baker

The Rams look to finish the regular season on the right foot as they host the Air Force Academy on Saturday.

CSU won three of their last five games, but are coming off a lost on the road to BYU on Wednesday night 77-69.

"I thought that we played extremely hard tonight," head coach Dale Layer said in a radio interview after the game Wednesday. "We didn't get any breaks on the floor and they made some adjustments that hurt us."

The Rams will look to go to 10-5 on the season at home as the Falcons visit Moby Arena, boasting a record of 23-5 and 11-4 in conference. The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the Mountain West Conference, as they have won five games in a row.

The Falcons hold an RPI ranking of 49, the highest in the conference. They are lead by senior guard Antoine Hood, who is averaging 14.8 points per game and 2.6 assists. He is followed by Falcon junior forward Jacob Burtschi, who scores 12.9 points per game and leads the team in rebounds with 6.3 a game.

The last meeting between these two teams in early February resulted in a Falcon 15-point victory over the Rams. In that game, Burtschi scored 21 points with six rebounds, while Hood scored 15.

In that match-up the Rams had a hard time stopping the Falcon offense, but in CSU's recent wins, defense has been the key. The recent play of junior Freddy Robinson and sophomore Stuart Creason has put rest to many of the problems.

"All I can do is play as hard as I can when I get into the game," Creason said after his 11 points off the bench Wednesday night.

Sophomore Jason Smith continues to pace the Rams offensively with 16.5 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. Fellow big man Michael Harrison is still playing impressive after his co-MWC Player of the Week. He led the Rams in scoring with 17 at BYU. Guard Cory Lewis remains the conference leader in assists with 4.35 per game.

With a win and a Wyoming loss, the Rams could tie the Cowboys for seventh place in the conference. The Rams would then hold the tiebreaker because they have a better overall record. This means that the Rams would avoid having to play in the play-in game on Tuesday in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, and also avoid a possible quarterfinal match-up against conference leading San Diego State.

Game time Saturday is 1 p.m. If you can't make it to Moby Arena, the game can be heard on 600 AM KCOL.

Conference Standings

Team Conference Overall

SDSU 13-3 20-8

Air Force 11-4 23-5

BYU 11-4 19-7

UNLV 9-6 19-7

New Mexico 8-7 17-11

Utah 5-10 12-14

Wyoming 5-10 12-16

CSU 4-11 15-13

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