The CSU men’s basketball team may be reeling after four straight
conference losses, but they are hoping a big crowd and a national
television audience will turn things around tonight.
The Rams (11-11 overall, 3-6 Mountain West Conference) will take
on Brigham Young (15-7, 5-4) tonight at 10 p.m. at Moby Arena. The
game will be televised on ESPN, part of the network’s Big Monday
package, which features three college games.
“It’s a real treat for us, we don’t get too many opportunities
to host Big Monday’s,” CSU head coach Dale Layer said.
ESPN has a contract with the Mountain West to show an MWC game
in the final game of the Big Monday tripleheader. Even though the
game will not start until midnight Eastern Standard Time, CSU
players are still excited for the opportunity to play in front of a
national audience for the second time this season and the first
time at home.
“We’re gonna be real pumped,” freshman point guard Dwight
Boatner said. “The whole country will be watching and an extra
boost for us will be the home court. We can’t lose two in a row at
The Rams lost their first Big Monday contest of the season 67-49
against Utah in Salt Lake City on Jan. 19. CSU athletic media
relations director Gary Ozzello said the Rams rarely get to play in
more than one Big Monday game a season and ESPN may have decided to
televise the Rams more this season because of their run to win the
Mountain West Tournament last season.
He also said the athletic department hopes to get a big crowd
for the game to help showcase the university. Boatner said the
players would really like to see more fans come to all the
“We need the fans, they’re an important part of what we’re
doing,” Boatner said. “When we go out on the road, the other team’s
fans pack the house and get on us and we need that same kind of
love. We need them to show us the same love those other fans show
Last year on Big Monday, the Rams took apart New Mexico 74-58 in
front of 5,389 fans at Moby. Layer said he hopes there will be a
large student turnout for the game, even with a late start
“A lot more students are up than town folk,” Layer said. “We’re
hoping it’s one big party.”
If the Rams are going to make it a party, they will have to
start playing better than they have in the last three games, all
conference losses. CSU has been one of the streakiest teams in the
nation this year. They won four straight games in late December and
early January, only to lose the next four, and their current
three-game losing streak follows three straight overtime wins.
The Rams have been hindered of late without their leading
scorer, 7-foot center Matt Nelson, in the lineup. Nelson has missed
the last three games with a sprained left knee and likely will not
Point guard Micheal Morris said the Rams need to stop making
excuses and start a new winning streak.
“It’s a big game for us,” Morris said. “We need to turn this
around and defend our home court.”
BYU heads to Fort Collins coming off three straight wins,
including beating Wyoming 67-53 Saturday in Laramie.
Without Nelson, the Rams may have their hands full with Cougars
center Rafael Araujo, who averages 18.2 points and 10.2 rebounds
per game. Guards Mark Bigelow and Mike Hall also average double
figures in scoring for BYU, and they should face a good matchup
against Boatner and Morris.