The CSU Rams arenâ€™t looking for defense to win them a championship; they are just hoping it can make them a contender.
The Rams (12-8, 3-3 MWC) have relied on a solid defense to carry the team for most of the season, a fact guard Adam Nigon says needs to continue if the team wants to have any sort of post season run.
The junior explained that, if CSU can get back to the level of defense it was playing early in the season, it will lead to success.
â€œItâ€™s just going back to the basics and getting back to where we started. Thatâ€™s really our bread and butter on defense right there,â€ Nigon said.
â€œWhen we are playing hard and diving around on the ground for loose balls it seems like we can play with anybody. When you are doing that on defense, offense becomes the easy part because you get good looks.â€
After giving up more than 80 points during their most recent three-game losing streak, the Rams defense got back on track Wednesday night, giving up only 57 points in a win over the TCU Horned Frogs.
CSU point guard Dorian Green admits the Rams can struggle on offense, but said the team can still win when they are at their best defensively.
â€œWhat we need to do is to continue to be solid and rely on our defense,â€ the true freshman said. â€œIf we arenâ€™t making shots, then hopefully we wonâ€™t let other teams score. We are going to be in close games, but if we can limit teams offensively, then we are going to have a good chance to win.â€
The Ramsâ€™ next chance to continue their solid defensive play is set for this Saturday as they play host to the San Diego State Aztecs (14-6, 3-3 MWC) in Moby Arena. The game marks the completion of a two game home stand.
With a win, CSU can jump past the Aztecs into fourth place in the conference standings.
Rams head coach Tim Miles explained that the Aztecs represent one of the high level MWC teams CSU is trying to become. The third year Rams coach added that his team has to beat teams like this to accomplish their season goals.
â€œIf you look at their RPI and everything, they are one of those top four teams in conference,â€ Miles said. â€œIn my eyes, we have to beat a few of those top four teams everybody talks about and Saturday seems like a pretty good day to start.â€
SDSU enters the game on a mini hot streak, winning two of their past three games. The Aztecs only loss during this span came at the hand of 14 ranked BYU, 71-69.
Nigon gave SDSU and head coach Steve Fisher credit for what they have done this season, but said he doesnâ€™t doubt the Rams ability to pull off the upset.
â€œThey are good. They are definitely in the top three or four teams (in conference),â€ he said. â€œThey rebound the heck out of the ball and have some fast guys. If we can limit their second chance points I think weâ€™ll have a real good chance against them.â€
Tip off for Saturdayâ€™s game is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.