When Colorado State and Boise State faced off Jan. 31, the Rams were still reeling after the loss of senior guard Gian Clavell.
The Broncos, at the time, were expected to challenge San Diego State for the Mountain West regular-season title.
Oh, how things have changed.
CSU seems to have found Clavell’s replacement in fellow senior guard Antwan Scott, and the Broncos have lost three of their last four games, including a 61-53 defeat at the hands of last-place Air Force. Despite returning All-Mountain West players in Anthony Drmic and James Webb III, Boise State has been wildly inconsistent, especially on the road, where it has lost its last two games.
Wednesday night’s game should be an entertaining one, considering that none of CSU’s 10 league games have been decided by more than nine points.
A win would be huge for the Rams, moving them into fifth place with seven league games to go. Here’s how CSU can do it.
Continue defensive improvement
CSU has continued to get better on the defensive end, finally starting to buy into head coach Larry Eustachy’s system of defense and rebounding. The Rams showed it Saturday against Nevada, holding the Wolf Pack to just 67 points after giving up nearly 80 points per game coming into the contest. When Boise State is on, including Drmic, Webb and sharpshooter Nick Duncan, the Broncos are awfully hard to stop. If the Rams can run Boise State’s shooters off of the three-point line and prevent Webb from hurting them on the glass, the Rams will put themselves in a good position to win this one.
Allow Gillon and Scott to facilitate
Some of CSU’s best statistical lineups include both John Gillon and Antwan Scott, who combined to score 43 points against Nevada. Neither is a true point guard, but each of them brings a different yet integral aspect to the CSU offense. Scott has been a scoring tear over the last six games, but the Rams need more production from everyone else in their backcourt. Gillon seems to have regained his confidence, and can be incredibly hard to guard when given the freedom to play at full speed.
Get the crowd involved early
Crowds at Moby Arena have been notoriously weak this year, but Saturday was a small glimpse into just how good of an atmosphere it can be. If CSU can jump out on the Broncos early, they should be able to get the Moby faithful (and the few students who show up) involved in the game and get some momentum. No, it won’t be a sellout, or probably even be half full, but as the students who came Saturday showed, you just need people who are loud and into the game. As Scott and Emmanuel Omogbo alluded to Saturday, this team feeds off its fans, and CSU will need all the help it can get against a very tough, very motivated Boise State team.
Collegian Senior Sports Reporter Keegan Pope can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.