Tonight's bout represents the fifth of six straight games away from home for the Bulldogs, who recently wrapped up their stay at the Great Alaska Shootout. The tourney began on a high note following a victory over Southern Utah, but it was all down hill after the 78-59 win. Two nights later, Drake was thrashed by St. John's, 82-39, and the team then concluded the event with a heart-breaking 82-81 loss to Weber State on Saturday. The Bulldogs are now 2-3 overall and will wrap up their road trip a week from now at Eastern Michigan.
The Rams, meanwhile, opened a three-game homestand over the weekend with a 92-81 loss to Sam Houston State. It was the first setback in three games for CSU, which opened the season with wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Denver. The Rams will bring their current homestand to a close against Fresno State on Saturday.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between CSU and Drake on the hardwood.
Kurt Alexander had a chance to give Drake the victory, but his jumper in the final seconds was off the mark in an 82-81 loss to Weber State. It was the lone field goal try of the game for Alexander and a rare miss for Drake, which shot 57.4 percent from the floor, including an 11-of-20 effort from behind the arc. Rayvonte Rice paced the team in defeat with 21 points and six assists, while Ryan Wedel and Aaron Hawley had 17 and 15 points, respectively. Through five games, Rice is the one who leads the roster in scoring at 12.0 ppg and he is also collecting 5.0 rpg. Hawley and Seth VanDeest check in with 11.2 ppg apiece, and Wedel rounds out the double-figure scorers behind 10.6 ppg.
The game was decided at the foul line, as CSU went just 7-of-17 compared to a 30-of-41 showing by Sam Houston State in a 92-81 loss on Saturday. The Rams also lost the battle on the boards, 40-29, though they were able to score a decent amount of points thanks to a 50.7 percent shooting performance from the floor. Travis Franklin made 9-of-12 field goals on his way to 22 points, while Andy Ogide tallied 20 points and seven boards. Jesse Carr also got into the mix with 18 points and three steals off the bench. After three games, Franklin leads the Rams in scoring at 18.7 ppg and he is shooting an efficient 71.4 percent from the field. Ogide nips at the heels of Franklin with 18.0 ppg and he is the team's leading rebounder as well with 6.7 ppg. Carr provides a nice boost off the bench with 10.7 ppg for the Rams, who are averaging 80.0 ppg as a team.
The Rams have more weapons at their disposal and they will have their say in tonight's outcome.
GAME NOTES: The Drake Bulldogs and the Colorado State Rams meet tonight as part of the second annual Mountain West-Missouri Valley Challenge at Moby Arena in Fort Collins.
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: The Mountain. Home Record: Drake 1-0, CSU 1-1. Away Record: Drake 0-1, CSU 1-0. Neutral Record: Drake 1-2, CSU 0-0. Conference Record: Drake 0-0, CSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.