Rams Face Utah in MWC Tourney Opener

March 10, 2005 • Pepsi Center • Denver, Colo. • 12:04 p.m. MT <p>The Matchup...Colorado State enters the 2005 postseason Thursday when they take on the No. 1-seeded Utah Utes at noon MT at Pepsi Center in Denver.

The Rams closed out the regular season with a 72-61 loss to New Mexico in Albuquerque and enter the tournament with an 11-16 overall record.

Senior center Matt  Nelson paces CSU with 15.9 points per game while grabbing a team-best six rebounds per contest. Matt  Williams and Jason Smith round out Rams averaging double figures with 11.9 and 10.5 points per game, respectively.

About Utah: Utah comes in ranked No. 16 in the nation after claiming the Mountain West regular-season crown with a 25-4, 13-1 MWC record.

Center Andrew Bogut is among the nation's best players averaging 20.6 points and 12 rebounds per game while shooting at a 63.7 percent clip from the floor. Senior Marc Jackson averages 10.7 points per game while leading the Utes with 111 assists and hitting at a 47.7 percent clip from three-point range. Bryant Markson is Utah's third-leading scorer with 10.1 ppg.

MWC Tournament Ticket Information: Tickets to the 2005 MWC Basketball Tournament are available by calling 1-800-491-RAMS or online at CSURAMS.com. You may also purchase tickets by contacting the Pepsi Center ticket office.

Rams In March: Colorado State is 9-8 (.529) during coach Dale Layer's tenure in games played in March including a 3-4 record in the MWC Tournament.

Road Woes: Colorado State holds a 20-game road losing streak after Saturday's loss at New Mexico. Colorado State's last win on the road (excluding neutral site games), came Dec. 22, 2003 at South Florida. F Matt Williams' free throw with less than five seconds to play in the game helped Colorado State to a 66-65 victory in Tampa, Fla.

The Utah Series: Utah and CSU meet for the 134th time marking the Rams' third-longest rivalry behind Wyoming and Denver. The Utes lead the series 94-39 but the teams have claimed two wins apiece when playing on a neutral floor. The last time the schools met in a neutral setting the Utes prevailed in a Mountain West Tournament contest in 2002, 69-66.

WHOA NELLY!! - • Senior center Matt Nelson has scored in double figures in 25-straight games and in 35of his last 36 games dating back to last season.

• Moved into 3rd place in career scoring at CSU in his Feb. 21 game against UNLV passing Rich Strong (1,555). He now has 1,623 career points at CSU and would need 59 points to match the second place total of 1,682.

• Ranks 14th in the nation and 2nd in the MWC in field goal percentage (.618).

• Recorded his third double-double of the year and seventh of his career at BYU. Two of his three double-doubles this season have been against the Cougars.

• Ranks on CSU's top-five list in career scoring, field goal percentage, field goals made, free throws made, free throws attempted and blocked shots.

WILL POWER - • Senior forward Matt Williams enters Thursday's game eighth on the school's career field goal percentage list. He has made 328-of-619 career field goals, 53.0 percent.

• Ranks 4th in the MWC in free throw percentage for the year hitting 84.0 percent from the charity stripe.

• Has shot better than 50 percent in 16 of 22 games in the 2004-05 season and has been above 50 percent from the field 67 times in 112 career games (59.8 percent). • Has recorded five or more rebounds in 11 of 22 games this year and has surpassed that total 47 times in his career.

SMITH, NO MYTH - • Freshman forward Jason Smith , from nearby Kersey, Colo., has scored in double figures 12 times in 25 games.

• Ranks third on the team with a 10.5 per-game scoring average and is the only freshman to rank in the MWC in scoring (18th), rebounding (9th) or field goal percentage (6th).

• Has gathered four or more rebounds in his last 14 games. In the last four games, he has a total of 33 rebounds. He has had five or more rebounds 17 times in 25 games this year.

• Notched a career-best 24 points to go with 11 rebounds for his first career double-double against San Diego State.

MORRIS MAGIC - • Junior guard Micheal  Morris is 6th on the school's career list with 108 blocked shots.

• Ranks 9th in career assists at CSU with 301 in his three-year career.

• Has led CSU in assists in seven of the last 10 games.

• Played a career-most 45 minutes in CSU's overtime win over San Diego State.

• Dished out a career-high 11 assists against SDSU marking the first time a Ram had hit that mark since 1997.

• Has had 29 assists in his last four games.

TO THE RACK - • Senior guard Jon  Rakiecki ranks 7th in career three-point field goals made with 126.

• Ranks 5th in career three-point field goals attempted (366).

• Hit four three-pointers in win over Wyoming matching his career-best in Moby Arena.

MORE MORRIS - •Freshman guard Sean Morris tied a school record for three-pointers in a game (9) against UNLV.

• Pulled down a career-best nine rebounds against New Mexico.

• Second in the conference in three-pointers made per game (2.57) in league contests. He also ranks third in the Mountain West in three-point field goal percentage (.486) in league play.

• In two games against UNLV this year, Morris has scored 50 points (31, 19) marking the top two scoring games of his career.

• In his last five games and has hit 14-of-26 (.538) three-pointers.

Rams On The Boards: Colorado State has outrebounded 18 of 27 opponents in 2004-05. The Rams are 8-10 when collecting more boards than their opposition.

Lobos Thwart Ram Upset Bid: The University of New Mexico withstood visiting Colorado State's upset bid Saturday night, defeating the Rams 72-61 in Albuquerque.

The Rams overcame an early UNM lead to take a five-point, 38-33 halftime lead behind the play of center Matt Nelson and forward Jason Smith. But New Mexico used a 17-0 run in the second half – holding Colorado State scoreless for nine minutes – to regain the lead and take control of the contest. Nelson led Colorado State by scoring 15 points and tied for game honors with eight rebounds. Smith had 12 points, and like Nelson, eight rebounds, as did forward Matt Williams. Nelson, a 7-foot senior center, made six of his seven field goal tries and added three free throws. New Mexico had four players score in double figures, led by forward Danny Granter's 19 points.

The Rams fell victim to 24 turnovers on the night, the most in a game this season by Colorado State.

CSU finished the game making 21-of-36 field goals, 58 percent, while holding New Mexico to 44.6 percent from the field, 25-of-56. The Rams made 4-of-11 three-point goals including three by guard Jon Rakiecki. The Lobos, meanwhile, made 8-of-26 shots behind the arc en route to the win.

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