Another chapter of the CSU-CU rivalry unfolds Wednesday night when the Rams’ men’s basketball team travels to Boulder to take on the Buffaloes.
Colorado State (8-0) will be questing for revenge over Colorado (5-2) for last year’s 67-62 loss at Moby Arena, with CU’s Spencer Dinwiddie leading the way for the Buffs with 28 points. But with Dinwiddie foregoing his senior season after being picked in the second round of the NBA draft, the Buffs may find it tougher against a new-look CSU squad out to a record start and receiving votes in the top 25.
However, CU is 5-0 at home this season, and CSU is 1-16 in Boulder since 1979, its last win against the Buffs on the road coming in 2005. In the Rams’ trip to Boulder in 2012, they were undefeated heading in as well, but came away with a loss in which CU leaped out to a 20-point lead in the first half.
That was Larry Eustachy’s first contest in Boulder as CSU’s head coach. He said his understanding of rivalry games has changed over his 24 year career.
“I was one of those young coaches who would say ‘it’s just another game’ in the old days, but it’s not just another game, it’s really important,” Eustachy said.
CSU veteran guards Daniel Bejarano and Joe De Ciman are the only two players remaining from that 2012 roster that was beat in Boulder. Bejarano said he has been preparing his other teammates for a wild atmosphere in Wednesday night’s rivalry game.
“It’s going to be loud, it’s going to get rowdy, but we can’t get into all that,” Bejarano said. “This is a huge game to us, this is a rivalry game, but at the same time we need to treat it like a regular game and just play our game.”
That will include containing 6-foot-10 center Josh Scott, who leads the way for the Buffs, averaging 16.6 points per game along with 8.6 rebounds and 2 blocks. CU heads into Wednesday night’s contest after a road loss to Georgia Sunday, with its only other loss on the season coming at the hands of the Wyoming Cowboys in November.
CU was held to just 33 points by the Cowboys, who slowed the game down with a 2-3 zone and watched the Buffaloes struggle to penetrate inside for any easy baskets as they shot 27.9 percent from the field, including only 4-15 from three point range.
The Rams have an interest in the same strategy of preventing Scott from getting touches on the inside and forcing the Buffs to shoot threes. Scott was held to only seven field goal attempts and six points against Wyoming’s zone.
In their Great Alaska Shootout match-up with a California-Santa Barbara team featuring NBA prospect Alan Williams, the Rams forced the center to work for difficult baskets, throwing both Dantiel Daniels and the bothersome length of Stanton Kidd at Williams.
“It’s going to be vital to keep it out of (Scott’s) hands,” Daniels said. “If he gets comfortable…it’s going to be a long night. I’m going to make it as hard as I can for him, limit his touches. I know he’s going to get a few because he’s good player, but I’m going to try my hardest to make it hard for him.”
Daniels said his team isn’t expecting its talent and early season success in its historical start to simply lift them over CU, though.
“We know they’re good, and they’re not going to let us come in and take one, so we have to be ready,” Daniels said.
Collegian Sports Reporter Sam Lounsberry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @samlounz.