GAME NOTES: One of the longest relationships in Colorado State basketball adds another chapter tonight, as the Rams welcome the Denver Pioneers to Moby Arena for a non-conference encounter.
The Rams, who are not scheduled to hit the road again until the first of the new year, have rattled off seven wins in eight opportunities in Fort Collins. The team has posted five victories in the last six outings overall, thank to a 109-55 thrashing of Southwestern Oklahoma State three days ago..
As for the Pioneers, they opened the 2013-14 campaign with fourth straight defeats against a number of top-notch opponents before posting back-to-back wins against Alaska Anchorage and Southern. However, more recently Denver landed back in the loss column with a 64-63 overtime event versus Mercer on the road on Saturday.
Colorado State owns a 92-67 advantage in the all-time series, taking four in a row and eight of the last nine encounters. The Rams have not lost at home against Denver in more than four decades and their 92 total wins in the series represent the most for the school against any other program in history.
Chris Udofia scored 21 points, shooting 8-of-16 from the field, but had he done even slightly better at the free-throw line (5-of-11) then the Pioneers could have easily come up with their third straight win instead of going down against Mercer in Georgia over the weekend. Cam Griffin pitched in with 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, followed by Brett Olson with 10 points, although he shot just 2-of-7 from the floor as the team finished with only 39.3 percent accuracy.
Denver has had a different leading scorer in each of the last four outings, just one of the reasons why wins have been so hard to come by this season. Udofia is at the top of the scoring list overall with his 12.7 ppg, but close behind lurks Olson with his 12.3 ppg, thanks in large part to his 84.6 percent effort at the charity stripe. However, the Pioneers as a group are shooting just 69.9 percent at the line and 40.3 percent from the field, leading to only 62.7 ppg, compared to 69.7 ppg for the competition.
The Rams generated their fourth-highest point total in program history against SWOSU, reaching triple digits for the first time in almost eight years, but fans have to remember that the competition was far from Division I worthy. CSU placed six players in double figures during the onslaught, led by J.J. Avila who tallied 27 points in just 19 minutes before exiting. Joe DeCiman and Jon Octeus contributed 15 and 14 points, respectively, followed by Daniel Bejarano, Josh Morgan and David Cohn with 10 points apiece.
Thanks to the blowout win last week, the Rams are now averaging 81.1 ppg and holding foes to 70.2 ppg, but it should be noted that a number of the wins for the team this season have come against rather weak competition. Avila is now averaging 19.5 ppg to pace three players in double figures, followed by Bejarano with his 13.4 ppg and 8.0 rpg. Octeus accounts for 12.9 ppg and between the three of them they have handed out 97 assists in order to keep the offense motoring along.
Colorado State has had the benefit of a very favorable schedule early on, but even though the Pioneers might pose a bit more of a threat, the outcome should still be the same.
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