After a late-game comeback fell just short in an 85-81 to San Diego State, the Rams will return to Moby Arena to try and register their first win in the last seven games, while taking on the Lobos of the University of New Mexico tonight.
CSU (12-10, 1-8 MWC) will welcome a UNM team (13-9, 4-5 MWC) who is No. 5 in the conference standings after breaking a three-game losing streak last Saturday with a win over Utah.
"Our problem has been on the defensive end, we have to do a better job defending the ball," said sixth-year coach Dale Layer.
The Lobos will bring in a winless road record to Moby Arena, but the Rams still have bitter memories of the last time these two teams played.
In the last meeting, the Rams suffered an 83-75 setback in early January at the "Pit" in Albuquerque, despite center Jason Smith's career-high 28 points.
"We are always looking for balance, I'm sure they are going to take away our big inside guys," Layer said. "We've got to have guys step up and hit some shots."
Sophomore guard Sean Morris was the only non-big man to score in double figures for the Rams last time. Forward Michael Harrison and center Stuart Creason both scored in double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
"I think we need a lot of transition," said guard Corey Lewis who had a career-high 26 points in his last outing versus San Diego State. "We are a running team."
CSU will be looking for their third win in four years in Moby Arena. However it won't be easy as Lobo senior David Chiotti (12.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game) and senior guard Mark Walters (15.8 points and 3 assists per game) have led the Lobos to a 13-win season thus far.
"Chiotti and Walters are two of the top eight or nine players in the league. They are a tough match-up all the way around," Layer said. "When they shoot the ball they can beat anyone in the country."
The Lobos are ranked No. 3 in the conference in field goal percentage, making 47 percent of their shots.
After a hot start in the beginning of the season the Rams have found themselves at the bottom of the conference riding their current six-game losing streak. A win at Moby is a must for this struggling team.
"I see a lot of improvements, we've made a lot of strides in the last couple of days," Lewis said. " We just need to get over the hump."
Tonight's game has been dubbed "Mardi Gras Night," where the best-dressed student will win free Pizza Hut for a year. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Mountain West Conference Standings
SDSU 8-1 15-6
UNLV 7-2 13-8
Air Force 6-3 18-4
BYU 6-3 14-6
New Mexico 4-5 13-9
Wyoming 4-5 11-11
Utah 3-6 10-10
TCU 1-7 5-17
CSU 1-8 12-10