Hartsock Recounts Physical Game

Forward Noah Hartsock is coming off his first career double-double performance. Although he's a little banged up following the 92-70 win over Colorado State, Hartsock and the Cougar coaches are hopeful he'll be ready to go on Saturday.

Oklahoma native Noah Hartsock scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He was also perfect from the free-throw line (6-6) and added two blocks to his overall performance.

"It was really exciting and it was a hard-fought game," Hartsock said. "I didn't know until after the game that I got a double-double, but that was one of our emphases going into the game. We wanted to out-rebound them and play harder and that's what we did. We wanted to go and take care of business.

"When you do something like that it really helps increase your confidence," Hartsock continued. "So I'm just going to take that and keep playing with confidence for practices and for the games to give our team a better chance to win."

"He played great and Noah's been a great rebounder for us this season," said Cougar teammate Jimmer Fredette. "He goes out there and works hard and plays extremely tough. We knew we were going to have to get rebounds because they were going to go after the glass and get offensive rebounds. Noah and Chris Miles did a great job of going out there and preventing that and it was great. I expect him to continue playing great."

The game against the Rams was both physical and aggressive, with many fouls being called on both teams.

"It was really an intense battle throughout the entire game," recalled Hartsock. "We went out and fought hard and there were a lot of fouls called in the first half. We had 14 fouls called [in the first half], so it was pretty brutal out there."

In fact, the physicality of the game played a factor in how Thursday's practice was conducted. The Cougars practiced lightly and ended a little early.

"Yeah, we shot free throws and we shot around for a little while and did some shooting drills and some competitions," said Coach Rose. "We'll get after them tomorrow. We watched a lot of Wyoming film today from when we first played them."

Hartsock tied a career-high by playing 32 minutes against CSU, thanks in part to the aforementioned high amount of fouls.

"I think with the other big men getting into foul trouble I knew I had to step up a little bit more," Hartsock said. "I knew I had to play harder, and so I think this affected me in that game and why I was able to get so many rebounds."

If Hartsock isn't careful he'll wind up having a target on his back like Fredette, albeit more because of rebounding rather than scoring.

"Yeah, but the thing about rebounding is I don't think it's as hard as shooting because they get right up on you," said Hartsock with a laugh. "As long as you box out, you'll be set."

Unfortunately, the physical play in the low post during Wednesday's game left Hartsock a bit hampered.

"Yeah, he got banged up and it's pretty sore," said Coach Rose. "It was kind of a knee-to-knee collision. He's having some work done on it and he'll have treatments the next day or so. We expect him to play and hopefully we'll see how he does in practice tomorrow."

Next on the Cougars' schedule is Wyoming. If Hartsock can't resume his normal role, senior Jonathan Tavernari and junior Logan Magnusson could be called upon to carry more of the load.

"Yeah, we've played J.T. and Logan has played the four in practice the last two weeks or so, but we'll just have to see," said Coach Rose. "The matchups with Wyoming are a little bit different. [Coach Schroyer] usually has two big guys out on the floor and then three really active guards, so hopefully we don't have to deal with that, but if we do then we'll kind of figure it out."

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