A generous dose of charity from an adversary has helped bring together a team that has been struggling to find some chemistry.
The CSU men’s basketball team has not beaten the University of New Mexico in the past 13 games but last night, the Lobos helped along a struggling Ram squad by giving them ample opportunity to prove their skills at the free throw line.
CSU junior forward Brian Greene was perfect from the charity stripe, going nine for nine against UNM, for the second straight game; Greene also nailed all 12 opportunities during Saturday’s 60-57 win over Air Force.
While the back-to-back games of perfection from the line bumps Greene up to the Mountain West Conference’s top 10 in free throw shooting (80.2 percent), his personal statistics are put to the wayside in comparison to how his teammates responded to his performance.
“Brian’s been knocking them down. When he gets to the line, good things happen for us,” CSU head coach Dale Layer said. “We start attacking the basket more, getting more aggressive. It’s been good because our team’s still searching for some chemistry.”
The Rams were sent to the line 23 times, and responded by making 19 of them for a stellar 82.6 free throw percentage. Fifteen of CSU’s 38 points in the second half resulted from free throws. CSU freshman forward Matt Nelson was six of seven, while freshman forward Matt Williams also converted on both of his opportunities.
Greene claims that his recent success at the line, where he has made 24 of his last 25 attempts over the past three games, has resulted from mixing his shooting style up in practice.
“They just feel a lot better,” Greene said. “All season, I’ve just been trying to find ways to improve.”
The Lobos were given just as much opportunity from the stripe but were able to sink only 13 of their 22 chances (59.1 percent). Unfortunately for the Rams, UNM was able to make up for it with better overall shooting. n