CSU men’s basketball adds its first nonconference game

Bailey Bassett

Colorado State University basketball fans anticipating the long-awaited return of college hoops just got some good news.

CSU has reportedly scheduled its first nonconference game for the 2020-21 slate. According to Jon Rothstein, CSU will play Saint Mary’s College of California on Dec. 19. The Rams are now expected to play 10 days before they were originally scheduled to open the season at home against the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The matchup against Saint Mary’s will be in Moraga, California. 


The Gaels have recently seen significant success playing in the West Coast Conference, which has some solid programs, including Gonzaga University, one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the nation. 

Last season, Saint Mary’s went 26-8 overall and 11-5 in conference, both very respectable numbers. They lost both of their non-conference matchups against Gonzaga but put up a good fight against the team that was ranked top three in both performances. Saint Mary’s even went to the championship game in the WCC tournament, where they once again lost to Gonzaga with a score of 66-84.

“The opening matchup against Saint Mary’s should be intriguing for CSU: Both squads are young and talented. However, Saint Mary’s lost its top three players.”

The Gaels have been frequents to the March Madness tournament as of late. Of their 10 appearances, seven have come since 2005.

There wasn’t a 2020 tournament because the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the season, but the Gaels made an appearance in 2019, ultimately losing in round one by four points to a good Villanova University team.

Their previous run in 2017 saw Saint Mary’s make it to the round of 32. In both 2010 and 1959, the Gaels made it to the Sweet Sixteen, with the 1959 squad even advancing to their only ever Elite Eight appearance.

Patty Mills of the San Antonio Spurs is Saint Mary’s prized possession. Since his two-year career from 2007-09, the Gaels have seen their program really blow up. The Australian went on to be a second-round pick, NBA champion and early returner to one of the steadiest organizations in the league.

Mills and head coach Randy Bennett, who has been the coach since 2001, have created a pipeline of top Australian talent joining Saint Mary’s roster. That list includes another NBA champion: Matthew Dellavedova, known as the Curry stopper for his defensive intensity in the 2015 NBA finals. Dellavedova went to Saint Mary’s the season after Mills left for the NBA. Four of the players on the roster are from Australia or New Zealand this season.

The opening matchup against Saint Mary’s should be intriguing for CSU: Both squads are young and talented. However, Saint Mary’s lost its top three players.

Jordan Ford and Tanner Krebs both graduated, while Malik Fitts put his name in the draft pool. They will now heavily rely on 6-foot 7-inch forward Dan Fotu, a junior who averaged 6.4 points last season. Saint Mary’s isn’t returning a lot of scoring from last year’s team. Fotu is the leading returning scorer, and besides him, the next highest points last season were earned by Tommy Kuhse, who got 5.9. 

CSU is returning a lot of talent and will look to get off to a strong start. Sophomores Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy will lead the attack.


As part of the deal with Saint Mary’s, CSU will also play at home next season against them.

Bailey Bassett can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @baileybassett_.