After starting the season off with five out of seven games on the road, Moby Arena looks pretty appealing to the CSU Rams men’s basketball team.
The Rams are back in Fort Collins and about to embark on a four-game home stand, their longest consecutive run in Moby this season.
Head coach Tim Miles said this is an important four games for the Rams and a good opportunity to establish a home court advantage.
“It’s important for us to do well,” he said. “I think we need to win home games to create an atmosphere and get fans rallying around Rams basketball. The way to do that is to put a good product on the floor, play your butt off and win.”
True freshman Pierce Hornung agreed that taking full advantage of home court will be a process but said CSU needs to learn to win in whatever situation they are in.
“We certainly hope that we can make Moby that place (one where the Rams thrive), but whether we are at Moby or away, we need to treat it the same way and play the same way. We can’t treat it any differently.”
The Rams first opportunity to make Moby all they hope it can be is scheduled for Saturday as the green and gold host the University of Denver Pioneers (4-1).
Even though DU isn’t the first university to come to mind when the Rams think about schools they don’t like, Hornung, an Arvada native, still considers them a rival.
“Any time you are playing another in-state school you definitely want to win,” the forward said. “There is some pride in that kind of game. Being an in-state guy, it especially means a lot to me.”
Junior Travis Franklin remembers what happened when CSU and DU met last year and said he’s expecting the Pioneers to put up the same fight this season.
“It’s a big rivalry. Last year they beat us at their place,” Franklin said. “You know they have a lot of players that wanted to play for us. I’m sure they are going to be amped up, and we have to match that energy.”
Denver enters the game on a four-game winning streak and is one of the hottest teams on the Front Range. The Pioneers traditionally run a Princeton style offense, which has been effective so far this season. Through their first five contests, DU is averaging more than 71 points per game and ranks in the top 10 nationally in field goal percentage at 52 percent.
Miles said he is confident in his defense’s ability to slow down the Pioneers but added CSU’s offense could be a concern.
“I feel better than ever about our defense,” the third year CSU coach said. “We just have to do it on offense, and we’re a little inept on offense. I’m hoping we can continue to make steps forward and continue to get better defensively.”
Tip off of the Rams and Pioneers is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.