Feb 122007
Authors: Matthew Pucak

It may seem rare for a game between two teams who haven’t won in almost a month to be important, but for the CSU Rams tonight’s game will be.

The Rams are struggling, having dropped five straight games, but their opponent, TCU, is in the midst of an even worse streak, having lost nine-straight games.

Head Coach Dale Layer feels that if CSU gets a win, they can get their momentum rolling and hopefully get the season righted.

“I think we are getting better every day, but there is nothing positive like a win, and we really need a win right now,” said Layer, after a spirited practice Monday where the Rams stressed effort.

After a promising 14-4 start that saw the Rams secure second place in the conference by their lonesome on January 20th, the Rams season has come spiraling down. The Rams currently sit at 14-9 overall, 4-7 in the Mountain West Conference, good for a sixth-place tie with Wyoming.

During the Rams 81-66 loss to San Diego State last Saturday, the Rams seemed to be trying to do too much, missing multiple lay-ups and short jumpers, a sentiment that was echoed by Rams center Stuart Creason.

“We had a lot of success early when we were doing well, and we all wanted to expand our games, but we have been overstepping our bounds lately,” said Creason, who leads the conference with 2.5 blocks per game.

TCU (10-13, 2-9 in MWC) has struggled after a surprising 2-0 start in league play, but despite their struggles the Rams will have their hands full as the Frogs are second in the MWC in scoring defense at 66.8 points per game and also second with 12.22 offensive rebounds per game.

Part of the Rams struggles lately has been the inability of the CSU big men, Creason and Jason Smith, to stay out of foul trouble.

Smith, the Rams top offensive weapon, averaging 16.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, has lately been out of the starting lineup, coming off the bench at the beginning of each half in an effort to keep him out of foul trouble.

“We tend to get into the foul trouble when we are trying to force it inside (on offense), and we get stopped, it gets frustrating, and that leads to fouls on the other end of the floor. We need to work on sharing the ball, and stop being just a little selfish,” said Creason, who added that a more generous approach was the goal of practice all week.

Men’s basketball writer Matthew Pucak can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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