PUEBLO, Colo. (January 26, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (12-6, 10-3 RMAC) hits the road Jan. 27-28 for a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road games. Friday's match-up is against Chadron State College (2-15, 2-11 RMAC) at 7:30 p.m., while Saturday the Pack battle Regis University (12-6, 6-6 RMAC) beginning at 7 p.m.
The ThunderWolves enter the weekend alone in third in the RMAC standings (10-3 record).
Last Time Out
The ThunderWolves lost its first home game of the season Saturday, as Colorado School of Mines posted an 80-58 RMAC victory at Massari Arena.
The ThunderWolves had won eight straight (seven this season) on the home floor, dating back to a loss to Colorado Mines late last February.
The Orediggers jumped on the Pack early and never looked back in the comfortable win. After starting in a 24-9 hole during the first nine minutes of play, the closest the home team would get was seven, late in the first half. The halftime deficit was nine, but the ThunderWolves lost the first five minutes of the second 10-4 and were down 15 at 49-34. The Pack wouldn't get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Colorado Mines dominated the paint and scored 50 points in the area (62.5% of their points). CSU-Pueblo by far had their worst shooting effort of the season and hit on just 38.7 percent of their shots. The Pack also allowed CSM to post a 55.8 percent effort from the field. The ThunderWolves entered the game shooting 51.3 percent from the field to rank 10th nationally. Mines came in as the best team in the RMAC in field goal percentage defense.
The Orediggers hit on 20-of-25 (80%) attempts from the free throw line, while the home team failed to get to the charity stripe in the first half and attempted just nine free throws. The ThunderWolves also tied a season-low with nine assists after entering the game averaging 16.1 per contest.
Junior Mark Williams was the only member of the Pack to score in double figures, as he had 13. He also added a team-high six rebounds.
The Eagles have lost five straight and are 2-15 overall with a 2-11 mark in league play. CSC ranks last in the RMAC in scoring margin (-14.2 ppg), as it is scoring 66.3 points per game, while allowing 80.5 points per contest. The Eagles also rank last in field goal percentage (39.2%). Darius Polley leads the team and ranks 17th in the conference with 14.1 points per game. His 1.4 steals per game is eighth. Michael Johnson adds 9.4 points and a team-high 4.9 rebounds per game.
Last Season versus the Eagles
The Pack went on the road last season and defeated the Eagles 71-63 behind Nelson Kahler's 25 points and six rebounds. The ThunderWolves shot 50.9 percent from the field and allowed Chadron State to hit on 37.9 percent.
After posting a six-game win streak, the Rangers have lost three straight to own a 12-6 overall and 6-6 RMAC record. Regis owns the sixth best scoring margin in the RMAC at +2.9 (78.1 ppg, 75.2 ppg allowed). The Rangers sit first in the league in steals (8.1 spg) and turnover margin (+3.2). Regis has three players in double figures scoring, guided by Jarrett Brodbeck's 15.9 points per game. Dexter Sienko has 15.8 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game. He is shooting 53.7 percent.
Last Season versus the Rangers
The Pack suffered an 93-85 setback at Regis last season, as the Rangers shot 52.3 percent from the field. Josh Smith scored 16 points for the ThunderWolves, while Nelson Kahler added nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Pack are shooting 50.6 percent from the field this season, which is second in the RMAC and sits 16th nationally. CSU-Pueblo shot above 50 percent in each of the first eight games and 12 of the 18 contests. The Pack have six players shooting above 50 percent, guided by Nelson Kahler's 57.0 percent, which ranks seventh in the RMAC. Sitting ninth in the conference and 58th in NCAA Division II is Mark Williams with a 56.2 percentage.
Nelson Kahler finished first in the RMAC and 22nd nationally with 64 blocks last season. His 2.21 blocks per game was 21st. He owns 60 blocks this season to again lead the league and rank fourth nationally. The 3.3 swats per game is also fourth in NCAA Division II.
Kahler has swatted 124 shot attempts in his two seasons with the Pack to rank third on the all-time list.
After recording nine blocks against UCCS Jan. 14 to tie the school record, the senior established a new program record with 10 at Colorado Christian. The mark is the most by an RMAC player since the 2012-13 season and ranks tied for second in NCAA Division II in 2016-17.
As a team, the ThunderWolves lead the RMAC and rank third nationally in total blocks with 107. The 5.9 blocked shots per game is also third in NCAA Division II.
The Pack swatted 15 shot attempts against UCCS Jan. 14 to hold the second most team blocks in a game in NCAA Division II this season. The 12 the ThunderWolves posted against CCU Jan. 17 ranked tied for 10th.
RMAC Player of the Week
Center Nelson Kahler has used his big block numbers to earn RMAC Defensive Player of the Week honors twice this season (Jan. 9 and Jan. 16). He owns six career weekly league honors.
The ThunderWolves are 7-1 at home this season and under sixth-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 49-26 (.653) record. This season the ThunderWolves are outscoring opponents 84.3-71.6 at Massari Arena.
Guards Leading the Way
The Pack's leading scorer is Mark Williams with 14.1 points per game (18th in RMAC). He has come off the bench in 12 of the 18 games. He is shooting 56.2 percent from the field (ninth in RMAC) and adds 6.0 rebounds per game (15th in RMAC).
The leading rebounder is guard Rico Spikes, who has 7.1 rebounds per contest to sit seventh in the RMAC. His 3.2 assists per game is 10th in the league, while the senior's 55.4 percent from the field ranks 11th. His 12.6 points per game is 25th.
Will Newman's 4.3 assists per game (78 total) ranks fourth in the conference. His 88.0 percent from the charity stripe is third, while the 2.0 assist/turnover ratio and 1.5 steals per game are fifth in the league. With 12.4 points per game, he ranks 27th.
The ThunderWolves finished 10th nationally last season with 11.0 3-pointers per game and hit on a 37.7 percentage (4th in the RMAC). This season, the Pack are shooting at a 40.6 percent clip from long range to sit 29th nationally. CSU-Pueblo has knocked down 9.0 3-pointers per contest, which is fourth in the RMAC.
Josh Smith has 50 buckets from beyond the arc to sit fifth in the RMAC, while Liggett's 2.3 3-pointers per game is 10th (36 daggers from downtown). Liggett has shot 36-of-78 (46.2%) from long range this season to rank eighth in the RMAC.
Gavin Liggett hit nine against Texas A&M Commerce Nov. 25 to fall one shy of the program record. The mark is the most in the RMAC this season and is tied for the fouth most in NCAA Division II in 2016-17.
The Pack are third in the conference with 15.6 assists per game.
The ThunderWolves are second in the league and 45th in the country with 85.1 points per game. The team's +7.2 scoring margin is third in the conference.
Head Coach Ralph Turner earned win number 90 with an 89-70 home win against MSU Denver Jan. 13. As the CSU-Pueblo bench boss, he owns an 92-67 (.579) record in six seasons. He owns the third most wins in ThunderWolves men's basketball history.
The Dec. 30 win against Black Hills State was the 450th in his storied men's basketball collegiate head coaching career that spans 21 seasons.
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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics.