ThunderWolves return to Massari Arena Jan. 5-6

ThunderWolves return to Massari Arena Jan. 5-6

PUEBLO, Colo. (January 4, 2017) - After a month away, the Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (5-8, 2-5 RMAC) returns home to Massari Arena Jan. 5-6 to battle South Dakota School of Mines (7-6, 4-4 RMAC) Friday and Black Hills State University (8-4, 4-3 RMAC) Saturday. Both contests are scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip.


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District 60 and 70 Nights

This weekend, Pueblo area children and school employees will have the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of Colorado State University-Pueblo basketball for free.

On Friday, CSU-Pueblo Basketball will host District 60 night at Massari Arena. All District 60 students and employees will receive a free general admission ticket to the Pack's home hoops double-header vs. South Dakota School of Mines. Saturday night, the Pack will welcome District 70 students and employees to Massari Arena with a free general admission ticket for the ThunderWolves clash with Black Hills State.

In order to receive their free ticket Friday, District 60 employees will need to present their employee ID for one free admission at the Massari Arena Box Office. District 70 employees will also need their employee ID for one free admission Saturday night.

Parents of district students and spouses of employees will still need to purchase tickets. General Admission tickets start at $5. Fans can pay an additional fee to upgrade to a reserved seat.

Last Time Out

The ThunderWolves fell 78-54 at Black Hills State Dec. 30 to close the 2017 calendar year in a RMAC road contest.

The ThunderWolves were doubled-up in the second frame, losing 42-21 after trailing by just three at the halftime break to the Yellow Jackets. The Pack ended the game shooting 31.1 percent from the field, while BHSU shot 48.3 percent. CSU-Pueblo hit seven of its nine 3-pointers in the first half and finished the contest shooting 28.1 percent from long range. Rebounds were a major issue, as the ThunderWolves lost the category 55-25. Seventeen Yellow Jacket rebounds came on the offensive end and were converted into 25 points. The Pack forced 18 turnovers, which translated into 23 points off miscues. 

Senior guard Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.) was the lone member of the team to score in double figures with 14. He hit a team-high three 3-pointers and added five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Senior center Mika Nuolivirta (Vantaa, Uusimaa, Finland) added nine points, while sophomore guard Donovan Oldham (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the team with six rebounds. 

The Hardrockers

The Hardrockers sit 5-6 overall and 3-4 in league play. SD Mines has lost two straight and three of their last four games. The Hardrockers are playing their third conference road game of the season and the first since Dec. 9. In 11 games, six different players have led the team in scoring, while three players are averaging 10-plus points per game. Logan Elers leads with 12.6 points per game and adds 5.2 rebounds. Troy Brady has 12.1 points per game, while Jake Heath totals 11.5 points and a team-best 3.5 assists per contest. SD Mines is 13th in the league in scoring with 71.9 points per game, but rank fifth in scoring defense at 71.5 points per game allowed. The Hardrockers lead the league in 3-point percentage at 44.9 percent, but are 14th in field goals attempted from long range. 

Last Season vs the Hardrockers

The ThunderWolves fell in Rapid City last season by the score of 84-81 in overtime. Will Newman totaled 11 points, six rebounds and five assists in the loss. 

The Yellow Jackets

Black Hills State owns a 7-4 overall record and a 4-3 mark in RMAC games. The Yellow Jackets have won three straight games after losing their three previous contets. Black Hills is 0-3 on the road this season. BHSU owns the RMAC's top scoring defense (23rd nationally), holding opponents to 66.2 points per game. Black Hills State opponents are shooting 42.1 percent from the field, which is a league low. Fraser Malcolm leads three Yellow Jackets in double figures scoring with 13.8 points per game, while his 8.2 rebounds per game ranks fifth in the RMAC.

Block Party

With 4.5 blocks per game, the Pack sit 3rd in the RMAC and 25th nationally, while the 59 total blocks is 3rd in the league and 25th in Division II. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 23 blocks to rank 2nd in the conference and 40th nationally, while sophomore Donovan Oldham has 12 rejections to sit 9th in the league. 

Long Range

The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 26th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.5 per contest. The 137 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 27th in Division II. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 363 3-pointers this season, which is the 2nd most in the league and 26th in Division II.

Senior Josh Smith is seventh in the RMAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.3. Smith and Senior Will Newman are tied for the team lead with 28 3-pointers, which is 11th in the RMAC.

Thanks for the Charity 

Senior Will Newman has made (72) and attempted (85) free throws this season to rank third and fourth, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. He ranks 22nd nationally in free throws made and 32nd in free throws attempted. His 84.7 percentage from the line is ninth in the conference. 

Ball Security

The ThunderWolves average 11.8 turnovers per game, which is the third lowest in the RMAC. 

Leading the Way

Senior Will Newman is 4th in the league in scoring with 16.9 points per game. He sits 2nd in the conference (22nd nationally) with 79 assists. His 6.1 assists per game is 2nd in the league and 24th in D-II. With 1.5 steals per game he ranks third in the RMAC. His 36.32 minutes per game is 2nd in the conference and 25th nationally.

• Senior Mika Nuolivirta is shooting 54.6 percent from the field to rank 2nd in the RMAC. 

• Sophomore Donovan Oldham leads the team in rebounding with 6.5 boards per game, which ranks T-11th in the RMAC. 

RMAC Players of the Week

In his first weekend of competition at CSU-Pueblo, Jason Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned RMAC Offensive Player of the Week honors Dec. 18. The transfer averaged 26.0 points per game and 8.0 rebounds to lead the Pack to wins over Western State and Colorado Mesa University. Anderson sank 76.7 percent from the field (23-for-30), was 2-of-3 (66.7%) from long range and hit on 4-of-6 (66.7%) from the free throw line. Anderson scored 52 total points and brought down 16 rebounds in just 50 minutes (25 mpg) of work. 

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.  

Newman reaches 1,000 Career Points

Senior Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.) became the 22nd student-athlete in program history to score 1,000 career points at CSU-Pueblo when he dropped 14 points against Western State Colorado University. Newman enters the weekend 33 points away from the top 20 in scoring all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,011 career points. 

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 102-77 (.569) 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.

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. 

1,000 Career Points Watch

Senior Josh Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has collected 879 career points, just 121 shy of the milestone. Smith will need to average 8.1 points per game in the remaining guaranteed 15 games to achieve this record.

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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.