GAME NOTES: The Colorado State Rams seek just their second road win of the season tonight, as they tangle with the Nevada Wolf Pack in Mountain West Conference play at the Lawlor Events Center in Reno.
An impressive 11-4 at home in Moby Arena thus far in 2013-14, the Rams can't seem to get out of their own way when they play anywhere else. Then again, CSU was in Fort Collins over the weekend and still came out on the short end of a 68-66 final versus New Mexico. The defeat was the second in three games for a Colorado State group that is now 3-4 in conference play.
Meanwhile, the Wolf Pack appear to have rebounded from a weak non-conference effort this season and is now an even 10-10 overall, thanks to five wins in seven tries versus the rest of the MWC. However, Nevada did take a step backwards on Saturday with a 64-62 overtime loss at Wyoming, marking the second consecutive overtime affair and the fourth for the team in the last 12 outings overall.
Colorado State completed the sweep last season of the Pack and has won five of the last seven encounters overall, but still the all-time series is knotted at six games apiece.
The Rams shot a dismal 32.1 percent from the field against New Mexico on Saturday, yet the hosts led by seven in the second half and were right in it up to the end when the lost by two to the Lobos. Daniel Bejarano accounted for 21 points and seven rebounds, followed by Joe De Ciman and Jon Octeus with 14 and 12 points, respectively. J.J. Avila converted a mere 1-of-12 from the floor as he tallied just eight points, but he did make an impact otherwise with his 12 rebounds and four assists.
Despite the disappointing shooting effort by Avila on Saturday, he is still the top overall scorer for the program with 18.4 ppg, adding a team-best 71 assists to his stat line, along with 7.6 rpg. Bejarano checks in with 16.5 ppg and paces the group with 9.0 rpg and 26 steals, but his 36.7 percent shooting from the floor still leaves a lot to be desired because that is a big part of the reason why the Rams come in at 43.6 percent accuracy from the field right now.
Deonte Burton scored a game-high 25 points, hitting 5-of-9 shots behind the 3- point line before fouling out on Saturday versus Wyoming, but even that was not enough as the Wolf Pack came up short in overtime. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Jerry Evans and Michael Perez with 14 and 11 points, respectively, as the program shot only 57.1 percent at the free-throw line on the afternoon.
Burton, who needs just seven more points to become the third player in Nevada history to reach 1,900 for his career, has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. He remains one of the top producers in the country with 21.7 ppg, shooting a solid 48.3 percent from the floor while also being responsible for a team-best 77 assists as well. Evans chips in 13.2 ppg and 6.4 rpg as he tries to give the program a presence in the paint and out on the perimeter where he has connected on 33.8 percent of his 3-point tries.
More often than not, Burton and Evans are able to put together solid efforts at the offensive end of the floor, but the duo will need to work a bit harder at the defensive end in order to slow down Bejarano and the potential for a much-needed road win for the Rams.
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