Fresh off a loss on the road at UNLV, one of the top teams in the Mountain West Conference, the CSU Rams return home to face perhaps an even more imposing opponent.
The Brigham Young Cougars, the MWC leader (18-5 overall, 7-1 in conference) will storm into Moby Arena tonight riding a six-game winning streak, and they will be looking to remain on top of the conference by extending the Rams’ (6-17, 0-9) struggles.
The Rams, who have dropped their last 10 games, have a couple major reasons to be confident that they can compete with BYU despite the disparity in the standings.
One reason is that the Rams expect Stuart Creason to play more minutes than the 16 he logged against UNLV, his first game back in uniform after missing nine games due to a foot injury.
“We are happy to have (Creason) back and we are looking to get him a little more playing time, probably around 20 minutes,” coach Tim Miles said. “We were actually ahead of UNLV, 30-29 when he was out there; the problem was when he was on the bench it didn’t go so well.”
Another factor for the Rams is that they competed with BYU for a majority of their 92-73 loss earlier this season, save for a 17-3 BYU run in the middle of the game that broke it open, and the Rams feel they have learned from that.
“The first time we played them we got beat for too many transition baskets, even though you wouldn’t think a team like BYU, with their big guys, would do that. We watched film on it, and we know that we were even with them when we made it a half court game,” said CSU guard Marcus Walker, who had 24 points against the Cougars in that game.
The Cougars’ Trent Plaisted, a preseason all-MWC nominee, will be a challenge to stop inside, as he averages 15.7 points and 9 rebounds a game, while forward Lee Cummard’s (15.8 ppg) and guard Paul Tavernari’s (13.6 ppg) outside shooting creates quite the challenge for an opposing defense.
“What makes Plaisted a challenge is that he is so athletic, that if you give him any angle to the rim, he is going to attack it. If you can’t contain him and prevent him from getting position, it is either an easy basket or a foul,” Creason said.
Rams guard Willis Gardner, who injured his shoulder against UNLV, will be doubtful for the game according to Miles, yet another bad break in a season that has seen plenty go wrong for the Rams.
Colorado State Rams:
No. Pos. Name Pt.
13 F Andre McFarland 7.0
12 G Adam Nigon 2.2
04 G Marcus Walker 18.5
23 C Ronnie Aguilar 4.1
22 G Jesse Woodard 5.5
No. Pos. Name Pt.
30 F Lee Cummard 16.8
45 F Jonathan Tavernari 13.6
44 C Trent Plaisted 15.7
20 G Sam Burgess 8.6
24 G Ben Murdock 4.2