The past two months of the CSU men’s basketball season has been filled with disappointing losses, as they are currently on a nine-game losing streak, and it seems even when the Rams get a break, something else pops up to derail them.
After a brutal 91-51 loss on the road to New Mexico on Tuesday, the Rams looked to have a bit of good fortune coming into Saturday’s game against UNLV, as center Stuart Creason is expected to return to play after a foot injury that had sidelined him since the end of December.
Unfortunately for the Rams, high scoring guard Marcus Walker, the conference’s leading scorer at 18.3 points per game, now has the flu and wasn’t at practice on Thursday.
Coach Tim Miles said Walker’s status for Saturday will likely be a game-time decision, but despite the problems an inactive Walker would bring, Miles feels that Creason’s presence on the court will be a boon for his struggling team, even if his minutes will be limited.
“We know that we will have to enjoy Stu (Creason) in moderation,” joked Miles, who noted that Creason’s absence has been a major part of the Rams swoon.
Creason, who averaged 12.2 points and 6.4 rebounds a game before being injured, was excited about returning, especially after being forced to watch his team struggle from the bench.
“Having to sit out the first game of conference play and watching your team not be able to win is very disheartening,” said Creason, the Rams lone senior.
“I can’t wait to get out there.
UNLV is tied for second in the conference, and they are led by guard Wink Adams who averages 15.7 points a game, while Joe Darger (12.6 ppg) and Curtis Terry (11.0 ppg, 4.5 assists per game) provide plenty of support.
The Rams haven’t had a consistent scoring threat besides Walker lately, but last time the two teams matched-up, freshman forward Andre McFarland, whose hometown is Las Vegas, stepped up to score 14 points and grab 6 rebounds.
“I had fun playing against them last time, but it is going to be more fun playing there, because my whole family and my friends are going to be at the game,” McFarland said.
While Miles knows the Rebels are tough, he still expects the Rams to compete with the same intensity as in their early season 63-61 loss to UNLV, despite their recent struggles.
“Our goal is to be competitive and bring the effort. We know we can show up and play with anyone as we did early in the season, but the last two games (New Mexico and Utah) have been noncompetitive. We’ll have to compete better Saturday,” said Miles.
# Pos Name Points Per Game
24 F Rene Rougeau 7.9 , 6-6
31 F Curtis Terry 11.0, 6-5 45 C Joe Darger 12.6, 6-7 01 G Wink Adams 15.7, 6-0
G Corey Bailey 7.0, 6-5
13 F Andre McFarland 7.3 12 G Adam Nigon 2.3 4 G Marcus Walker 18.3 23 C Ronnie Aguilar 4.3 43 G Willis Gardner 11.0