Men's hoops hits the road to battle Westminster Friday

Men's hoops hits the road to battle Westminster Friday

PUEBLO, Colo. (December 7, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (3-6, 0-3 RMAC) hits the road for the first time in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play and just the second time this season Dec. 8, as the ThunderWolves battle Westminster College (5-1, 1-1 RMAC) at 7:30 p.m.


Last Time Out

The ThunderWolves are 0-3 to start the RMAC season following a home loss to New Mexico Highlands Tuesday. The Pack lost 81-76 after holding a 38-36 lead at the half. NMHU shot 68.2 percent in the second half and 57.1 percent in the game. The road team hit on 61.1 percent of their 3-point attempts. CSU-Pueblo shot 45.8 percent from the field and 27.6 percent from long range. 

The teams were near even in most of the statistical categories, which included each pulling down 31 rebounds.

The Pack were led by senior Will Newman, as he totaled 19 points, six rebounds and a game-best seven assists. He was 5-for-10 (50%) from the field, hit on 4-of-7 (57.1%) from long range and was 5-for-6 (83.3%) from the line.

Senior Mark Williams was 8-for-11 (72.7%) from the field and recorded 17 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior Mika Nuolivirta contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Coming off the bench, redshirt-freshman BJ Hardy posted 13 points in 14 minutes.

The Griffins

The Griffins are 5-1 overall with a 1-1 RMAC record. WC was 4-0 at home in the nonconference season, then went on the road and went 1-1 in RMAC play. The Griffins defeated Colorado Mesa 74-62 before falling to Western State 79-69. Westminster is averaging 77.2 points per game and are allowing 67.8 points per contest, which is second in the RMAC. The Griffins have the league's top scorer in Dayon Goodman, who is producing 32 points per game. 

Last Season vs the Griffins

The ThunderWolves went 2-0 versus the Griffins last season with an 85-69 road victory, which was one of just three home losses by the Griffins all year. At home the Pack won 87-69. Josh Smith (16), Gavin Liggett (14) and Will Newman (13) all finished in double figures scoring for the ThunderWolves in the road win.

Block Party

With 5.1 blocks per game, the Pack sit 2nd in the RMAC and 11th nationally, while the 46 total blocks is 1st in the league and 8th in Division II. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 19 blocks to rank T-1st in the conference and 17th nationally, while Sophomore Donovan Oldham has 10 rejections to sit sixth in the league. 


The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 26th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.9 per contest. The 98 daggers from downtown rank 2nd in the conference and 15th in Division II. The team's 38.1 percent is the 6th best in the RMAC. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 257 3-pointers this season, which is the second most in the league and 11th in Division II.  

Senior Josh Smith is 4th in the RMAC in 3-pointers made with 24 and is 4th in the conference with a 41.4 percentage from long range (6th in the league). Redshirt-freshman BJ Hardy is also shooting 50 percent from downtown.

RMAC Player of the Week

Senior Will Newman earned his first-career RMAC Defensive Player of the Week award Nov. 27 after a strong performance against UCCS. He totaled 25 points and eight rebounds, seven defensive. He knocked down 9-of-11 from the field and a pair of 3-pointers, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The senior added a blocked shot, steal and five assists.  

Home Cookin'

The ThunderWolves are struggling at home this season with a 2-6 record, but under seventh-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 54-34 (.614) record at Massari Arena. 

Thanks for the Charity 

Senior Will Newman has made (58) and attempted (68) the most free throws in the RMAC this season. He ranks 7th nationally in free throws made and 16th in free throws attempted. His 85.3 percentage from the line is ninth in the conference. 

The Pack are shooting 74.4 percent from the line this season to rank fourth in the RMAC.

Ball Security

The ThunderWolves average 11.9 turnovers per game, which is the second lowest in the RMAC. 

Leading the Way

• Senior Will Newman is 5th in the league in scoring with 17.7 points per game. He sits 2nd in the conference (23rd nationally) with 52 assists, while his 5.8 assists per game is 3rd in the league. With 15 steals he is 2nd in the RMAC, while Newman's 1.67 steals per game is third in the RMAC. His 36:46 minutes per game is also 1st.

• Sophomore Donovan Oldham leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 boards per game, whch ranks 8th in the RMAC.

• Senior Mika Nuolivirta is shooting 51.1 percent from the field to rank 10th in the RMAC. 

Coaching Milestone

Head Coach Ralph Turner earned win number 100 as the CSU-Pueblo bench boss with an 84-65 home win against Rogers State to start the season Nov. 10. As the CSU-Pueblo head coach, he owns an 102-76 (.573) record in seven seasons. He owns the third most wins in ThunderWolves men's basketball history. 

The Dec. 30, 2016 win against Black Hills State was the 450th in his storied men's basketball collegiate head coaching career that spans 22 seasons.

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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.