Final regular season road test ahead for Pack men's basketball Saturday

Final regular season road test ahead for Pack men's basketball Saturday

PUEBLO, Colo. (February 15, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (10-15, 7-12 RMAC) visits Colorado Christian University (4-20, 3-15 RMAC) for the final Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road game of the regular season, Saturday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.

The ThunderWolves are tied for 10th in the league standings at 7-12 and are two games out of the final spot in the RMAC Shootout. The Pack will likely need to win their final three games of the season and have some things fall into place to reach their sixth straight conference postseason tournament.


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Last Time Out

Yet another disappointing finish caused the ThunderWolves to lose 74-66 to Westminster College at home Saturday.

The Pack have lost five straight with four of those setbacks coming with leads in the final minutes watched disappear due to missed shots and miscues on the offensive end. 

Down five at 63-58 with 5:23 left, junior Gavin Liggett attempted to help the Pack break the bad streak, as he hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the home team ahead 64-63 with 3:56 remaining in regulation. The buckets forced a timeout by the Griffins and the ThunderWolves had their first lead since 4:30 remaining in the first half. 

Out of the timeout, the ThunderWolves grabbed a rebound on a missed shot and hustled down the floor, only to turn the ball over. A foul on the other end and two WC free throws and the lead was gone, 65-64, with 2:58 remaining. Another Pack turnover and a layup by the Griffins pushed the deficit to three, but senior Josh Smith drove and got a floater in the lane to drop to put CSU-Pueblo down 67-66 with 1:45 left. 

Unfortunately, that would be the final points the ThunderWolves would score, as the Griffins responded with the basket and the Pack committed yet another turnover without getting a shot attempt. 

Smith led the team with 19 points, which included five 3-pointers. He moved closer to reaching 1,000 career points and now sits at 978 points with three guaranteed games remaining. 

Senior Will Newman moved into 10th on the school's all-time scoring list, as he dropped 14 points, and had pulled down eight rebounds, dished out five assists and added three steals, all game highs for both teams.

The Cougars

The Cougars own a 4-20 overall and 3-15 RMAC record. CCU has lost its last three games and are 1-12 in its last 13. The team's 73.4 points per game is 10th in the RMAC, while the Cougars are gving up 86.6 points per contest to rank 14th. Colorado Christian leads the nation with a 80.8 percentage from the free throw line. CCU is 3rd in the conference with 8.4 3-pointers per game and are hitting on a 38.4 percent clip from long range. Isiah Hanson leads the team with 15.8 points per game and is shooting 50.8 percent from the field. Jeremiah Hanson is 3rd in the RMAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.5 per contest. He adds 14.8 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. Marcus Fager has come off the bench all seaon to contribute 8.6 points, a team-high 4.5 rebounds and a squad-best 1.0 blocks per game. 

Last Time vs the Cougars

The ThunderWolves hosted the Cougars in January and earned a 96-85 victory behind a 56.5 percent shooting night from the field. Jason Anderson dropped 27 points and added a team-high seven rebounds. Will Newman knocked down three of the team's 10 3-pointers and a finished with 18 points and nine assists. Mark Williams came off the bench to total 17 points on 7-of-9 (77.8%) shooting from the field.

Long Range

The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 26th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.1 per contest. The 253 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 24th in Division II. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 674 3-pointers this season, which is the second most in the league and 22nd in Division II. CSU-Pueblo owns a 37.5 percentage from beyond the arc to rank 8th in the RMAC.

Senior Will Newman has 56 3-pointers to lead the team and rank 7th in the RMAC. Senior Josh Smith's 52 daggers from downtown is second most on the team is and 11th in the league. 

Thanks for the Charity 

Senior Will Newman has made 122 and attempted 142 free throws this season to rank 3rd (27th nationally) and 5th, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. His 85.9 percentage from the line is 6th in the conference. 

Ball Security and Disciplined Play

The ThunderWolves average 11.6 turnovers per game, which is the 3rd lowest in the RMAC. CSU-Pueblo is third in the RMAC in the category of fewest fouls (444 fouls, 17.8 fouls per game).

I'll Take That

The ThunderWolves ranks 4th in the conference in steals per game with 6.3 and are 4th in the RMAC with 158 total steals. 

With 1.8 steals per game senior Will Newman ranks leads in the RMAC. The 44 total takeaways is also 1st. Senior Josh Smith adds 32 steals (9th in the RMAC) for 1.3 steals per game that sits tied for 7th in the conference. 

Block Party

With 4.1 blocks per game, the Pack sit 4th in the RMAC, while the 102 total blocks is 5th in the league. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 30 blocks to rank 5th in the conference (1.3 bpg is 5th in the RMAC). 

Leading the Way

Senior Will Newman is 5th in the league in scoring with 17.1 points per game. He sits 3rd in the conference (25th nationally) with 136 assists. His 5.4 assists per game is 3rd in the league and 34th in Division II. The senior's 1.81 assist/turnover ratio is 7th best in the league. His 35:36 minutes per game is 2nd in the conference. He is shooting 46.6 percent from the field to rank ninth in the conference.

Sophomore Jason Anderson has the team lead with 6.5 rebounds per game, which would rank 11th in the league if he met the minimum requirements. 

Seniors Mark Williams and Mika Nuolivirta are both shooting above 52 percent. Williams owns a 58.7 percentage, while Nuolivirta is shooting 52.9 percent from the field. Neither one of them meet the minimum requirement (Min FGM/G of 5.0) to be listed in the league rankings.

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; Climbing the All-Time Charts in Points, Assists and Free Throw Percentage

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 is 10th all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,233 career points. He is 41 points shy of moving into sixth on the scoring list.

Newman's 399 career assists ranks tied for 4th all-time. He is 17 assists shy of second place and 44 helpers shy of the record of 443, held by Tony White (1977-80). With one more assist he will become just the second player in program history to score 1,000 points and record 400 assists. The only player to do so is CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Famer Guy Taylor (1984-88).

Newman owns a 80.5 percentage at the free throw line in his career to rank second all-time at CSU-Pueblo He is 302-of-375 in four seasons. 

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 107-84 (.560) 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 5-9 record, but under seventh-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 57-37 (.606) record at Massari Arena. 

1,000 Career Points Watch

Senior Josh Smith has collected 978 career points, just 22 shy of the 1,000 point milestone. Smith will need to average 7.3 points per game in the remaining guaranteed three games to achieve this record.

With 233 career 3-pointers made, Smith ranks fifth all-time at CSU-Pueblo. His 3.2 3-pointers made per game ranks second all-time. 

His 150 career steals is sixth all-time.

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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.