It’s been almost five years since the CSU men’s basketball team last defeated Air Force, but that slide could end tonight at Moby Arena as an emerging Rams team plays host to the Falcons (9-8, 0-4 MWC), who have lost their previous five games.
CSU (6-12, 1-3) ended a 19 game Mountain West Conference regular season losing streak last Wednesday when they upset UNLV 71-69 thanks in part to the defensive efforts of former walk-on guard Adam Nigon. The Rams then put on an impressive showing in Salt Lake City on Saturday, but fell to Utah 82-66 despite guard Harvey Perry’s career high 15 points, including shooting 60 percent from three-point range.
Rams head coach Tim Miles said despite the loss at Utah, his players seemed to be responding well in practice on Monday.
“I thought we had a productive practice (Monday); I thought we had some good energy,” said the second-year head coach. “I really thought the guys were working hard to prepare for Air Force.”
The Falcons are led by senior forward Anward Johnson, who averages 14.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Although Johnson has an overwhelming presence on the court, being able to work in the post and on the wing, Miles felt that Air Force’s biggest threat is their team’s ability to shoot the three-ball.
“They’re three-point shooting was as high as No. 2 in the country until about two, three weeks ago. They really shoot the three well, they cut hard; play offense well. And their match-up zone defense is just tricky enough to get you hesitant on the offensive end,” he said.
Air Force is currently shooting .395 as a team behind the arc.
Ram fans may have noticed that since CSU’s loss at the University of Denver, senior guard Marcus Walker has been playing, but not starting. Miles said he wants a spark off the bench and believes Walker brings that to the team.
“It’s just a decision I made; I wanted a spark off the bench, maybe a little more scoring from the bench,” he said. “I’ve made this move as a head coach at other schools, and it’s been productive for us so I decided to try the same here.”
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. and can be seen televised on The Mtn. Fans can also follow the live game blog at CollegianSports.com.
Men’s basketball beat writer Matt L. Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.