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Men’s basketball aims to keep hot streak against New Mexico

Photo illustration show an image of both male and female basketball players with the text "In the Paint, Collegian Basketball Coverage"
(Graphic Illustration by Colin Crawford | The Collegian)

Two tight Border War games saw the Colorado State men’s basketball team come away with a gritty series sweep. While not always pretty, this team is showing that it can and will find a way to win. With only a two-day rest, the Rams will have a quick turnaround as they face the University of New Mexico at home this week. 

Currently expected to go ahead as planned, there was initial concern regarding if this week’s series would still be played after the Lobos matchup against San Diego State University was canceled last week per the Mountain West Conference website. It was not stated if this was due to COVID-19 precautions or other program-related issues. 

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Should the series go forward, New Mexico will have an uphill mountain to climb as they face a surging Ram team. The Lobos are at the bottom of the Mountain West standings with just one conference win. 

Should Utah State split their series this week against a fiery University of Wyoming team and the Rams win both of their games against the Lobos, CSU will find itself at the top of the table.”

As the season has progressed, CSU has seen their offensive consistency build. Currently shooting an average of 48.1% from the field — first in the Mountain West in this category — the Rams will be looking to continue to establish themselves as one of the best offenses in the conference. 

The Lobos, shooting 39.9% from the field — the last in the Mountain West in this category — will be relying heavily on their defense to keep these games close, as their offense has struggled throughout the season. 

Free throws have been yet another area where the Lobos have struggled and failed to earn some easy points. Averaging just 60.7% from the line, the Rams will again have the upper hand, as they average 77.7% from the same place. 

The Lobos will look to their leading scorer, senior Makuach Maluach, to awaken their offense, but he could be in for a very long night come game time. Maluach is listed as a guard/forward on UNM’s roster, likely pitting him against David Roddy, arguably CSU’s most dominant player. 


The only player on the UNM squad to be averaging double-digit points, Maluach is filling out his stat line with 14 points and 5.8 rebounds a game, but Roddy has him beat in both of these categories, putting up an average of 15.9 points and 9.3 rebounds a game. Lining up against a sophomore who is almost averaging a double-double is not an ideal situation to be in if you’re Maluach. 

For a Ram team that has recently been plagued by turnovers, some pesky defense could prove to be a lifeline for New Mexico. Over their last three contests, the Rams have averaged 17.6 turnovers a game. Fixing sloppy play will need to be one of the main points of focus for this Ram squad as it moves deeper into the season. 

Currently, the green and gold sit second in the Mountain West behind Utah State University. Should Utah State split their series this week against a fiery University of Wyoming team and the Rams win both of their games against the Lobos, CSU will find itself at the top of the table. 

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.

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