Greene Earns Reputation As Rams Warrior

Two seasons ago, Colorado State University's men's basketball play-by-play announcer, Rich Bircumshaw, called the Rams' Brian Greene a warrior for his relentless playing style. Two seasons later, Greene has undoubtedly earned the reputation as one of the Mountain West Conference's top performers and most rugged competitors.

Greene, a six-foot, eight-inch, 225-pound junior from Thornton, Colo., leads the Rams against MWC foe Air Force Saturday in Moby Arena (1 p.m.; ESPN+Plus; Radio: Colorado State Sports Network) on the heels of one the finest performances of his career. Last Monday night, Greene scored a career-high 32 points and had a game-best 11 rebounds in the Rams' game at UNLV. It marked the fourth time this season that Greene has scored more than 20 points in a game, and the third time he has been in double figures in rebounding. While Greene's play has inspired his teammates, it has not surprised his coach, Dale Layer.

"Brian Greene truly is a warrior. He is a fierce competitor who tries to make everyone around him better," said Layer this week of Greene's warrior mentality. "He has improved from one season to the next, but he has also shown improvement from one game to the next."

Greene may have a hard time topping his latest outing, at UNLV, when he sank 13 of 18 field goal tries. He - including his first three-point try of the season. His shot behind the line was the first attempt behind the arc since his freshman season, 1999-2000. He added five free throws in six tries, plus the 11 rebounds for an impressive statistical line.

It wasn't the first and likely won't be the last time that Greene posts impressive numbers. He enters this week's game with Air Force among the top 15 players in the league five different statistical categories: Greene is fifth in both rebounding, 7.5 per game, and steals, 1.8; He ranks sixth in scoring, now averaging 16.1 points per contest, and 11th in field goal percentage, having made 53 percent of his attempts. At the free throw line, Greene has converted 71 percent of his attempts, 14th best in the league.

Layer will be looking for more the same from Greene and his teammates Saturday in Moby Arena when the Rams face Air Force in the team's first home game in three weeks.

"We're excited to be playing at home," said Layer. "It's been a tough stretch. But we've worked hard, we've played hard, and we've improved from one game to the next. I cannot fault our effort. We just need to keep playing hard and improving." Greene will be joined in the starting lineup by forward Quantone Smith and Matt Brown, along with guards Andy Birley and Jon Rakiecki. Brown is the team's lone senior and is averaging just over six points per game. Smith is coming off an 11-point performance at UNLV and scored 19 points in two road games last week. Birley is fourth on the team in scoring, 12.1 points per game, and leads the Rams with 75 assists. Rakiecki has started the past two games and has scored 34 points in the past four games.

Colorado State enters the game 8-9 overall, while Air Force brings a 7-10 record into the game Saturday. Following Saturday's game, the Rams are back in action Monday night, Jan. 28, playing host to New Mexico at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena (T.V.: SportsWest Productions; Radio: Colorado State Sports Network).

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