The Rams are off to their best start under head coach Tim Miles who is in his fourth year with the program. While CSU was able to claim victory in meetings with San Francisco and Dominican University last week as part of the Hilltop Challenge, the team did stumble on New Year's Day with a 77-75 setback versus Hampton in the final game of the event. The loss snapped a six-game win streak by the squad.
As for the Cowboys, they've won four of their last five games and that streak could have been even more favorable had the team been able to meet up with Houston Baptist as planned on New Year's Eve, but poor traveling conditions and an accident on the way to Denver International Airport prevented the Pokes from completing the trip. So, as it stands, the most recent game for the Cowboys was 68-55 win over Kennesaw State at home on December 28th.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Cowboys own a 129-83 advantage, yet it was the Rams who swept the two meetings last season with an 83-73 triumph in early January on the road and an 80-64 victory in this same building a month later. The teams will meet again next month at Arena Auditorium in Laramie.
Desmar Jackson led four starters in double figures as he tallied 21 points, shooting 6-of-12 from the floor and 9-of-13 at the free-throw line. Additionally, Jackson also recorded a career-best six steals as he and the Cowboys forced 16 turnovers and held the visitors to just 37.0 percent shooting from the field and 3-of-18 behind the three-point line. Djibril Thiam accounted for 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out, followed by Francisco Cruz and Amath M'Baye with 12 points apiece. A starter in all 13 games in which he has appeared, Jackson is the leading scorer for the Cowboys with his 15.5 ppg, but you'd never be able to guess it when looking at his miserable 15.4 percent shooting behind the three-point line right now. M'Baye (11.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg) has had similar issues out on the perimeter at 20.0 percent, which explains why this team is converting only 28.0 percent from three-point range at the moment.
The Rams appeared poised to extend their win streak over the weekend in San Francisco, but that was before Hampton's Kwame Morgan connected on a three- pointer with just 0.8 seconds remaining to send CSU to the loss column. The Rams, who trailed by as many as 17 points in the matchup, got just four points from reserves, but that's because all five starters scored in double figures. Andy Ogide and Adam Nigon accounted for 16 points apiece, followed by Dorian Green with 15 and both Travis Franklin and Wes Eikmeier 12 points in the losing cause. Ogide, who is shooting better from the field (.599) than he is at the free-throw line (.561), handles his business in the paint where he collects a team-best 7.4 rpg and uses that presence to also enhance his scoring output which has now reached 15.7 ppg. Franklin checks in with 15.3 ppg as the only other double-digit scorer for the program and like Ogide has shown great accuracy from the floor at 60.4 percent. But unlike Ogide, Franklin has conquered the charity stripe, knocking down 86-of-114.
Looking at their overall record, one would assume the Rams were the superior team in this matchup, but CSU's beating up of weaker competition won't scare off the Cowboys by any means.