Feb 162012
Authors: Kevin Lytle

The old line is that basketball is the same game, wherever it’s played.

The court is the same size, the hoop is still 10-feet high.

But the CSU men’s basketball team seems to be playing a totally different game on the road, compared to when the Rams are at home.

At Moby Arena, CSU is dominant. The Rams are 11-1 and outscore their opponents by an average of 12 points per game.

The road is a horror show. CSU 2-8 away from Fort Collins and haven’t won away from Moby since Dec. 28.

“Maybe it’s mental, maybe it’s coincidence, who knows,” forward Pierce Hornung said. “But it’s something we’ve got to overcome.”

The good side are the Rams who play at home.

CSU has been dominant on the home floor, winning 10-straight games since a mid-November loss to Southern Miss.

The Rams have built a home swagger that has turned Moby into one of the tougher places to play in the Mountain West.

“I think they love playing in front of our fans, especially our student fans,” coach Tim Miles said of his players. “I just think they fell energized and don’t want to let those guys down. They just play with a little extra hop.”

On the road, CSU doesn’t play with the same sharpness.

The Rams have almost two more turnovers than assists per game on the road and shoot almost 10 percent lower than at home.

“A big part of it is probably mental,” guard Wes Eikmeier said. “Focus going into the game, bringing our own energy. We got off to a slow start at Boise and that’s kind of been our MO.”

Miles has a system to help grade performances. A home win is worth zero points, a home loss is -1. A road loss is a zero, a road victory is 1.

That means for the season, CSU is a 1. In conference play, the Rams are at zero.

Not bad, but for a team that has NCAA Tournament aspirations, its not good enough.

“Bottom line is you have to win as much as you can at home, obviously,” Miles said. “But you also have to win your road games.”

In the last week, CSU missed two golden chances to notch a couple of conference road wins.

On Saturday against TCU the Rams gave up nine of the games last 11 points to lose by four. And on Wednesday, CSU lost to Boise State on a shot at the buzzer after not getting an attempt in a last-minute possession. Additionally, the Rams missed 11 free throws.

“We’re probably three or four possessions from being tied for second in the league, but we’re not,” Miles said.

CSU now has two consecutive home games to try and get back on track before heading back on the road to try and get much-needed wins away from home.

“It’s disappointing. It was unexpected,” Miles said. “Because we had done really well in close games, even though we’d given up leads, we found a way to win. Now we’ve found a couple of ways to lose. It’s very disappointing. But I’m not going to divorce our guys when things are bad and re-marry them when things are good.”

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

Home vs. Road
Home: 13 games (11-1)
Points: 76.6
Points against: 67.8

Road-10 games (2-8)
Points: 64.7
Points against: 75.2

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