CSU men’s basketball has chance to sustain something special vs Boise State

Dwight Smith (33) goes up for a dunk against Assistant Head Coach Leonard Perry at practice. The Rams will be playing against Boise State in Moby Arena at 7 PM tonight.
Dwight Smith (33) goes up for a dunk against Assistant Head Coach Leonard Perry at practice. The Rams will be playing against Boise State in Moby Arena at 7 PM tonight.

Think back to over a year ago.

Nov. 19, 2011. Remember the date?

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Maybe it holds some meaning for you, maybe not. For CSU men’s basketball it does.

Nov. 19, 2011 marks the last time the Rams lost a home basketball game. Southern Mississippi, coached at the time by current CSU coach Larry Eustachy, drubbed CSU 79-58.

Some kind of irony.

Wednesday night CSU (16-4, 3-2 MW) welcomes Boise State (14-5, 2-3 MW) to Moby Arena, looking to extend its winning streak to 25 straight games – a program high and the fourth-best streak in all of Division I basketball.

“It’s just what this team does. We play well here,” senior guard Dorian Green said. “We understand the importance of winning at home. In this league, it’s tough to win on the road, so if you want to compete for a league title and try to get to the tournament you got to win at home.”

Defending Moby against the high caliber opponents in the Mountain West adds something extra special about what the Rams have achieved. No game is a gimme.

Boise State comes in as the conference’s highest scoring team at 76.7 points per game (29th nationally) thanks to shooting 47 percent from the field and a MW-leading 40 percent beyond the arc.

“You got to contest shots and keep them in front of you,” senior forward Pierce Hornung said. “It always comes down to what we do and not what Boise does. If we get our game on the floor, we’ll be successful.”

The Broncos tallied impressive wins over then-No. 11 Creighton and Wyoming on the road, and took No. 19 New Mexico to overtime before losing at home.

“Anytime you can go into Creighton and win, they can go into anywhere and win,” Eustachy said. “(Boise State) and UNLV are probably our two toughest opponents so far.”

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Boise State’s offense runs through its two outstanding sophomore guards, Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic, who rank first (21.3) and third (18.6) in scoring during MW play. Eustachy complemented Marks especially, suggesting he was possibly an NBA quality player.

“They got a special guard in Marks, who really isn’t his deal to shoot the three, but his deal is to keep guys in foul trouble,” Eustachy said. “That’s a great concern of ours. … They can both shoot, but one shoots it special. They kind of feed off each other. Marks, there’s not a better point guard in the league.”

It’s at the other end of the court where the Broncos struggle. Boise State has proven to be defensively vulnerable, giving up the seventh most points per game in the MW, potentially leading to an up-and-down, high scoring brand of basketball.

The Rams are determined to keep that from happening.

“For us it begins and ends with defensive rebounding,” Green said. “If we can get stops and rebound and limit their opportunities, and then just be patient offensively … we’ll get what we want offensively. So it comes down to defensive rebounding; that’s what we talk about every day.”