Nov 032011
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

Defense.

That’s the top priority for CSU basketball in its second and final exhibition game Saturday against Southwest Minnesota State.

In the Rams’ win against CSU-Pueblo on Tuesday night they allowed their opponents to score 82 points, while hitting 46 percent of their shots.

And improving on that performance has been the main focus in practice for CSU.

“Defensively is probably our biggest thing right now,” forward Greg Smith said. “I mean we put up 97 points, so we see that we can score in many different ways. Just staying in front of people and having good ball pressure and keeping people out of the lane.”

CSU will try to improve against a school that coach Tim Miles led for four years.

From 1997 to 2001 Miles was the head coach at SMSU, leading them to a 28-7 record and the NCAA Division-II Elite 8 in his final year in charge.

SMSU is now under the control of Brad Bigler, Miles’ starting point guard when he was the coach.

“Brad knows how to win, knows what to do,” Miles said. “He really does a nice job. I’ve been impressed, I’ve seen them on tape. I think he’s done a nice job with those guys.”

SMSU is coming off of a 12-14 season, but Miles thinks that they will provide the type of test his team needs.

“Southwest has always done a good job of getting tough minded guys,” Miles said. “And they’ll have skilled guys. They’ll have a lot of different guys that can shoot the three.”

And while the defense is grabbing the most attention from the team, there are some offensive issues that need to be worked through as well.

Despite the fact that the Rams scored 97 points in their first game, they were disappointed about the 21 turnovers they had Tuesday night.

But the players think that the combination of getting back in game rhythm and added attention to detail will help clean up their ball handling.

“It’s just a focus thing,” point guard Dorian Green said. “Just not turn the ball over, being tough with the ball. I think we were kind of weak with it when we went into traffic. Just being stronger, tougher with the ball and making the easy plays. “

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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