After getting their first home win Wednesday, the CSU men’s basketball team will be looking to carry that momentum on the road when they face their oldest rival Saturday, the Northern Colorado Bears.
The inexperienced CSU (4-2) team has been blown out both times they have played on an opposing team’s court at two rough venues, Montana and Stanford. And they know that their game at UNC (2-3) will be no different.
“I hear we have a rival on Saturday, and they told me it’s gonna be a big thing. It’s like their Superbowl game, so I’m real excited like that. I love rivals, so I’m anxious to go to Northern Colorado,” said junior point guard Willis Garnder, who has averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per game this season.
The Rams have had all but one of their games on the road this season, and while that may cause them to struggle a bit now, they know this tough early season will be worth it when the Mountain West Conference schedule starts.
“I think one of the biggest things was in Alaska, we got a lot of chemistry (winning the Top of the World Classic). Also, in our conference every road game is going to be a brutal game, and we are trying to get accustomed to that. So far, we haven’t really played at the level we need to play at on the road, but you can’t really know where you need to be at on the road until you play those tough games,” said senior center Stuart Creason, at, who averages 12.8 points7.7 rebounds this year.
The Rams were a bit lethargic Wednesday in their win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff, coach Tim Miles decided to give them a little break Thursday to prepare for a tough game.
“Our kids are a little tired right now; we’ve been on the road a lot, coach Miles has been on their butt a lot. And we’re gonna take tomorrow off, because we are gonna need great energy to beat Northern Colorado. We know what we’re walking into there,” Miles said .
The Rams first faced UNC in 1902, and since then the Rams lead the series 60-33, including winning last season’s game 75-66 at Moby Arena. The Bears have three players averaging double-digits, led by guard Will Figures, who averages 13.2 points per game, while Sean Taibi and Jabril Banks both average 12 points.
While UNC is not traditionally thought of as an athletic rival by CSU, Miles feels differently.
“In my eyes that is every bit as important of a rivalry, to be honest, Miles said. ” I look at it as a rivalry game, you know I really do, just the same as if it was against CU, Air Force, or Wyoming. And we’re gonna prepare accordingly.”.