PUEBLO, Colo. (November 23, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team hits the road to conclude nonconference play Nov. 25-26 in Stephenville, Texas, home to Tarleton State University and the Thanksgiving Classic. The ThunderWolves will battle No. 7 Tarleton State Friday at 6 p.m. MST and Texas A&M Commerce Saturday at 4 p.m. MST.
Last Time Out: The Pack opened the home season with an 83-61 victory against UCCS, Nov. 18 at Massari Arena. A balanced scoring attack and solid defense guided the ThunderWolevs to the nonconference victory.
Five student-athletes scored in double figures, guided by three players who contributed 16 points. Senior center Nelson Kahler scored 16 points in 20 minutes on 8-of-9 (88.9%) shooting and added six rebounds and three blocks. Senior forward Stevan Radakovic totaled 16 points off the bench and knocked down 3-of-4 (75%) from long range. He is shooting 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from beyond the arc this season after a 13.2 percent (5-of-38) performance a year ago. Junior guard Josh Smith knocked down four from long range and totaled 16 points with four rebounds and three assists.
The ThunderWolves (2-1) shot 50.7 percent from the field and held the Mountain Lions (0-3) to 37.5 percent. The Pack created 12 turnovers, while allowing just three. CSU-Pueblo dominated the paint with a 48-28 advantage and scored 32 bench points, which included 14 from junior Mark Williams (Chino Hills, Calif.).
The ThunderWolves led for 36:16 of the game, while UCCS was ahead for just 40 seconds.
Bench Play: The Pack scored 28 points off the bench in the opener versus Rogers State, followed with 30 against Arkansas-Fort Smith and totaled 32 against UCCS. The top two scorers on the team through three games are off the bench, as Radakovic owns 14.7 points per game, while shooting 65.2 percent from the floor. Williams has added 14 points per contest and shot 55.6 percent in a reserve roll.
Long Range: The ThunderWolves finished 10th nationally last season with 11.0 3-pointers per game and hit on a 37.7 percentage (fourth in the RMAC). In the first three games, the Pack have knocked down 25 3-pointers (8.3 per contest) and are shooting at a 41.0 percent clip. Smith leads the team with nine daggers from downtown (9-for-21, 42.9%).
Sweet Shooting: The Pack are shooting 52.3 percent from the field this early season, which is second in the RMAC and 20th nationally. CSU-Pueblo has shot above the 50 percent mark in five of the six halves this season (48.5% in the other). Kahler is shooting 77.3 percent from the field to lead the conference and sit fifth in NCAA Division II.
Block Party: Kahler finished first in the RMAC with 64 blocks last season, which ranked 22nd nationally. His 2.21 blocks per game was 21st. He owns seven blocked shots this season to tie for the conference lead, while his 2.33 blocks per game is 24th nationally.
Scouting The Opponents: Tarleton State ranks No. 7 nationally and is 3-0 to start the season. They are scoring 76.3 points per game and allowing just 60.3. TSU owns a 6.7 rebounding margin and 5.7 turnover margin. Ridell Camidge leads the team with 16 points per game. Romond Jenkins owns 9.7 points and a team-high 12.3 rebounds per contest.
Texas A&M Commerce (4-0) are averaging 99.5 points per game, which is fourth in the nationally, while ranking eighth in scoring margin (+24.5). The Lions also rank fourth in NCAA Division II in steals per game (13.3) and are 21st in rebounding margin (9.0). Four players are averaging double digits in scoring, guided by Malik Albert's 16.3 points per contest.
Last time Versus Tarleton: The ThunderWolves scored the biggest upset in program history last season when the Pack defeated then-No. 1 Tarelton State, 87-84 in overtime. Junior guard Will Newman had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in the win.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics