The Rams are reeling.
Following the game, senior starters Dorian Green, Wes Eikmeier and Colton Iverson were dejected; it was their first loss at Moby Arena in 28 games, they lost their first ranking in 59 years and gone were the hopes of winning the Mountain West Conference.
The Rams haven’t had to deal with too much adversity this season, last week was only the second time they’ve lost back-to-back contests all year; how they bounce back tonight is crucial.
With their NCAA tournament seeding on the line, Colorado State (21-6, 8-4 MWC) can’t afford to fall for a third straight time, especially with MWC basement dweller Fresno State Bulldogs (9-17, 3-10 MWC) in Fort Collins tonight.
Guard Tyler Johnson, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, has been on a roll lately averaging 15.8 points, five rebounds and three assists per over the last three games. The junior was key in Fresno’s win over the Nevada Wolf Pack last Tuesday in Reno, the team’s only conference road win of the season.
The Rams have been burned by many big-time scoring efforts this year – most recently allowing 46 points to Kendall Williams of UNM – and if they let Johnson go off, this game could be closer than many expect.
For CSU, center of attention Iverson has been in beastmode over the last three games, putting up 15.8 points and 10 rebounds per, though it didn’t translate into team success. Tonight, Iverson’s remarkable rebounding will be crucial, as will fellow frontcourt man Pierce Hornung‘s. The green and gold have to rebound to win – it’s their gritty, physical brand of basketball – and they should win the battle easily as they grab 10 more boards than the Bulldogs per contest.
A best-case scenario for CSU in tonight’s game would be if all five starters scored in double digits and the team cruised to victory, acting as a confidence-booster before they head on the road for two difficult games in Boise, Idaho and Laramie, Wyoming.
The Rams need to respond from those two tough losses last week, move on and remember they’re one of the best collegiate basketball teams in the country.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT at Moby Arena, and while there’s no television, Rams radio man Brian Roth will be on the call on 600 AM.