Men's hoops closes regular season at home Feb. 23-24

Men's hoops closes regular season at home Feb. 23-24

PUEBLO, Colo. (February 21, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (11-15, 8-12 RMAC) closes the regular season at home Feb. 23-24, as they welcome Colorado Mesa University (11-15, 7-13 RMAC) and Western State Colorado University (12-15, 10-11 RMAC) in a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contests. Both games are slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.

The ThunderWolves are 10th in the league standings at 8-12 and are vying for the final spots in the RMAC Shootout. The Pack will need to win their final two games of the season to have a chance for a sixth straight conference postseason tournament appearance. For CSU-Pueblo to get in without going to the point system tiebreaker, the ThunderWolves will need to win both and have University of Colorado Colorado Springs lose its final two games and have New Mexico Highlands University lose its last game OR just have NMHU lose its final contest at home against Colorado Mesa Saturday. UCCS plays host to Colorado School of Mines and Colorado Christian University. The point system would come into play if the Pack win both and NMHU wins.

Friday is CSU-Pueblo Faculty/Staff Appreciation Night where tickets are FREE (with ID), plus up to four additional tickets for immediate family for CSU-Pueblo faculty and staff. Saturday is Senior Night for four Pack student-athletes: Will Newman, Mika Nuolivirta, Josh Smith, Mark WilliamsFor the other weekend promotions, click HERE.  

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Last Time Out

It hasn't been a storybook senior season, both as a team and individually, for Colorado State University-Pueblo guard Josh Smith, but Saturday's 100-78 RMAC road victory at Colorado Christian will be something he won't soon forget. The senior scored a career high 26 points, backed by a career-best seven 3-pointers, to surpass 1,000 points in his career. 

Smith knocked down his sixth 3-pointer of the evening early in the second half to become the 23rd member of the ThunderWolves men's basketball program to reach the milestone. He is the second student-athlete to reach the fete this season, as fellow senior Will Newman achieved the honor before the holiday break. 

With the seven 3-pointers, Smith now has 240 career buckets from beyond the arc to rank fourth all-time at CSU-Pueblo. 

Newman made some history of his own Saturday, as he totaled 14 points and eight assists in the game. The senior moved into ninth all-time in scoring with 1,247 points and surpassed 400 career assists. Newman now ranks third all-time in school history with 407 helpers. He joins newly minted CSU-Pueblo Athletics Hall of Famer Guy Taylor (1984-88) as the only players in program history to record 1,000 points and 400 assists. 

In the win against Colorado Christian, the ThunderWolves snapped a five-game losing skid and shot the ball at a 57.4 percent clip from the field and hit 13 3-pointers. The Pack were balanced with 46 points coming in the paint. Fifteen CCU turnovers translated into 17 CSU-Pueblo points, while the ThunderWolves won the battle of the boards 38-33, which included 11 on the offensive glass.

A big part of the dominance in the paint was center Jason Anderson, who wasn't going to let the seniors have all the fun. He finished the game with 21 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals. He was 10-for-15 (66.7%) from the field and hit one of his two 3-point attempts. 

Freshman Corey Seng scored 10 of the team's 33 bench points and added five rebounds. 

The Mavericks

The Mavericks own an 11-15 overall and 7-13 RMAC record. After winning three straight to close out January, CMU is winless in February with a 0-4 record. CMU ranks 1st in the RMAC and 10th nationally in total assists with 483 (17.9 apg ranks 17th in Division II). The team owns an assist/turnover ratio of 1.40 to rank 2nd in the league, while the Mavericks' turnover margin of +0.6 is good for 5th in the conference. Brandon Hoffer leads the league with 6.1 assists per game and ranks 18th nationally. His 3.39 assist/turnover ratio is 7th in Division II. Connor Nichols ranks 2nd in the RMAC with 19.0 points per game and adds 7.5 rebounds per game for 3rd (6.0 defensive rpg is 1st). He is shooting 53.5 percent from the field, also good for 3rd. Emilio Acedo adds 17.2 points per game and owns 41 steals to rank 4th in the RMAC.

Last Time vs the Mavericks

The ThunderWolves scored 44 points in each half to win 88-72 at Colorado Mesa Dec. 15. The Pack shot 53.1 percent form the field and knocked down 12 3-pointers in the win. Senior Will Newman scored 24 points behind four buckets from beyond the arc and dished out nine assists. In his Pack debut, Jason Anderson totaled 16 points and 10 rebounds on 80 percent shooting from the field. Gavin Liggett hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points. 

The Mountaineers

The Mountaineers will also be battling for spot in the RMAC Shootout Saturday, as they own a 10-11 RMAC record (12-15 overall) to sit 8th. Western has won three straight to put them in a position for the postseason. WSCU ranks 2nd in the RMAC in 3-point shooting with 9.6 3-pointers per game (249 total). The Mountaineers can also get to the line, as they rank 5th in the RMAC in free throw attempts (584), 4th in made (448) and 2nd in percentage (76.7 percentage). Western scores 81.9 points per game, but allows 82.9 points per contest. Ben Beauchamp averages 16.8 points per game and has 2.42 3-pointers per game to rank 3rd in the conference. Collin Smith adds 15.8 points per game and is shooting 50.9 percent from the field.  

Last Time vs the Mountaineers

The ThunderWolves posted a 92-79 victory against Western State Dec. 16. The Pack scored 52 points in the second half and shot 60.3 percent from the field in the game (a season high). The big men dominated in the game, as Jason Anderson dropped 36 points on 15-for-20 (75%) shooting from the field. He also pulled down eight rebounds. Off the bench, senior Mika Nuolivirta added 20 points in 17 minutes on 9-for-10 (90%) shooting. Finally, Will Newman flirted with a triple-double and recorded 14 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. 

Long Range

The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 24th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.2 per contest. The 266 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 25th in Division II. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 704 3-pointers this season, which is the second most in the league and 30th in Division II. CSU-Pueblo owns a 37.8 percentage from beyond the arc to rank 8th in the RMAC.

Senior Josh Smith has 59 3-pointers to lead the team and rank 7th in the RMAC (2.4 3-pointers per game is 5th). Senior Will Newman owns 58 daggers from downtown, good for 8th in the league . 

Thanks for the Charity 

Senior Will Newman has made 122 and attempted 142 free throws this season to rank 4th and 6th, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. His 85.9 percentage from the line is 5th in the conference. 

Ball Security and Disciplined Play

The ThunderWolves average 11.7 turnovers per game, which is the 4th lowest in the RMAC. CSU-Pueblo is 4th in the RMAC in the category of fewest fouls (459 fouls, 17.6 fouls per game).

I'll Take That

The ThunderWolves rank 4th in the conference in steals per game with 6.3 and are 4th in the RMAC with 164 total steals. 

With 1.8 steals per game senior Will Newman ranks leads in the RMAC. The 46 total takeaways is also 1st. Senior Josh Smith adds 32 steals (T-10th in the RMAC) for 1.3 steals per game that sits tied for 9th in the conference. 

Block Party

With 4.1 blocks per game, the Pack sit 4th in the RMAC, while the 106 total blocks is 5th in the league. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 30 blocks to rank 6th in the conference (1.2 bpg is 7th in the RMAC). 

Leading the Way

Senior Will Newman is 5th in the league in scoring with 17.0 points per game. He sits 3rd in the conference (25th nationally) with 144 assists. His 5.5 assists per game is 3rd in the league and 31st in Division II. The senior's 1.85 assist/turnover ratio is 7th best in the league. His 35:23 minutes per game is 2nd in the conference. He is shooting 47.5 percent from the field to rank 9th in the conference.

Sophomore Jason Anderson has the team lead with 6.6 rebounds per game, which would rank 11th in the league if he met the minimum requirements. 

Seniors Mark Williams and Mika Nuolivirta and Anderson are all shooting above 50 percent. Williams owns a 58.5 percentage, while Nuolivirta is shooting 53.1 percent from the field. Anderson owns a 50.5 percentage from the field. None 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 9th all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,247 career points. He is 28 points shy of moving into sixth on the scoring list.

Newman's 407 career assists ranks 3rd all-time. He is 10 assists shy of securing second place and 36 helpers shy of the record of 443, held by Tony White (1977-80).

Newman is 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. 

With 141 career 3-pointers, Newman ranks tied for 10th all-time at CSU-Pueblo. His 131 steals is tied for 10th in program history. 

1,000 Career Points for Smith

Senior Josh Smith became the 23rd member of the Pack to reach 1,000 career points. With a career-high 26 points Satruday at Colorado Christian, Smith surpassed the milestone and currently has 1,004 points.

Smith knocked down a career-high seven 3-pointers against CCU and with 240 career 3-pointers made, Smith ranks fifth all-time at CSU-Pueblo. His 3.3 3-pointers made per game ranks second all-time. 

His 150 career steals is sixth all-time. 

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 108-84 (.563) 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. 

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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.