PUEBLO, Colo. (February 27, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (19-8, 17-5 RMAC) hosts the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout Quarterfinal Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The ThunderWolves are the No. 3 seed and will welcome No. 6 seed Colorado Christian University (14-14, 11-11 RMAC) to Massari Arena.
The Pack were No. 7 in the second edition of the NCAA South Central Region rankings.
Tickets will go on sale at 12 p.m. Tuesday at the Massari Arena Ticket Office. All tickets are general admission seating.
Ticket prices are as follows:
Adults (Ages 23 and Up): $8.00
Seniors (Ages 65 and Up): $4.00
Students (w/ valid I.D.): $4.00
Children (Ages 6-12): $4.00
Children 5 & Under: Free
The first 300 CSU-Pueblo students (with ID) will be admitted for free.
RMAC SHOOTOUT NOTES
• The ThunderWolves are hosting the first round of the postseason tournament for the second time in the last three years and for the third time overall.
• The ThunderWolves are 7-14 overall in RMAC Shootout games, dating back to 1997.
• The Pack have now made the tournament five straight seasons under sixth-year head coach Ralph Turner. The Pack are 1-4 in the last four appearances.
• CSU-Pueblo won their last home playoff game, 72-63, versus Fort Lewis in 2015.
• The ThunderWolves and Cougars have never met in the RMAC postseason.
MILESTONES THIS SEASON
• The ThunderWolves set the program record for conference wins with 17.
• The Pack hadn't finished third or better in the conference standings since tying for the Colorado Athletic Conference championship in 1995-96.
• Senior Nelson Kahler has established the program record for single-season blocks with 89.
MILESTONE WATCH LIST
• Sixth-year Head Coach Ralph Turner is one wins shy of 100 as the Pack bench boss.
• One win would also secure the program's seventh 20-win season and second in the last three years (21-9 in 2014-15).
LAST TIME OUT
The ThunderWolves went 1-1 in the final regular season weekend. The Pack hit the road and defeated Western State 89-75 Friday before dropping the final RMAC game of the season at Colorado Mesa, 96-85.
Against Western State, senior Nelson Kahler totaled eight blocks to move his season total to 86, a new program record that was previously set in 1982-83 (80, Mark Jung). He was also the team's leading scorer with 25 points on 9-of-12 (75%) shooting from the field. He brought down six rebounds in a season-high 34 minutes on the floor.
Sophomore Gavin Liggett went 5-for-8 (62.5%) from long range Friday and totaled 19 points. Senior Rico Spikes recorded 14 points and 12 rebounds with five assists and three steals.
The Pack shot an even 50 percent from the field and held Western State (5-20, 4-17 RMAC) to 36.2 percent. CSU-Pueblo edged the rebounding category 40-39.
The ThunderWolves fell short in a bid for its fifth straight win and 20th victory of the season Saturday, as Colorado Mesa defeated CSU-Pueblo 96-85.
In the loss to the Mavericks, the Pack turned the ball over 16 times, which led to 24 points off turnovers. CMU shot 51.8 percent from the field (eight percent higher than average, while CSU-Pueblo shot 47.8 percent (three percent below average). The home team attempted 40 free throws and made 30, while the Pack were 11-for-21 from the line.
Spikes recorded a career-high 27 points on 75 percent shooting (12-for-16) from the field and added 13 rebounds. The double-double was his third straight, fourth in the last five games and seventh this season. He also added four assists.
Junior Will Newman added 13 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Kahler posted 13 points on a perfect 4-for-4 effort from the field. He gathered five rebounds, dished out four assists and blocked three shots.
The ThunderWolves led 9-5 three minutes into the game, but a 13-2 run during the next four minutes of clock time handed CMU an 18-11 lead it wouldn't relinquish the rest of the game.
The Cougars finished the regular season 14-14 overall and 11-11 in RMAC play. CCU went 2-4 in their final six games, while includes a home win against MSU Denver (88-77) Friday before ending the regular season with a loss to UCCS (79-68). The Cougars score the ball at an 81.9 points per game clip to rank third in the RMAC, but allow 82.8 points per game (14th in the league). Colorado Christian is also third in the league in field goal shooting (48.8%) and 3-point percentage (40.3%). The Cougars have three players in the RMAC's top 10 scoring list in Joshua Blaylock (20.1 ppg), Dimitri Saliba (17.3 ppg) and Ty McGee (17.2 ppg).
THIS SEASON VERSUS THE COUGARS
The Pack went 2-0 against the Cougars this season. The ThunderWolves went on the road and won 98-94 Jan. 17 and then won in the regular season home finale Feb. 18 by the score of 87-79. Rico Spikes totaled 26 points and 11 rebounds in the road win, while Mark Williams posted 21 points and Nelson Kahler brought down 14 rebounds in the home victory.
The Pack are shooting 50.3 percent from the field this season, which is second in the RMAC and sits 12th nationally. CSU-Pueblo shot above 50 percent in each of the first eight games and 16 of the 27 contests. The ThunderWolves are 12-4 when shooting above the 50 percent mark.
The Pack have five players shooting above 50 percent, guided by Nelson Kahler's 61.1 percent, which is 26th nationally. Mark Williams' 57.8 percentage, which is 39th nationally.
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 89 blocks this season to again lead the league and rank fifth nationally. The 3.3 swats per game is fifth in NCAA Division II. Second place in the RMAC owns 44 blocks, 45 less than Kahler.
Kahler owns the program record for blocks in a season, passing Mark Jung's 80 set in 1982-83. He is fourth on the RMAC single season blocks list.
Kahler has swatted 153 shot attempts in his two seasons with the Pack to rank second on the all-time list. The career record is held by Bennie Johnson, who totaled 167 blocks from 1980-84.
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 (Jan. 17). The mark ranks tied for second most in a game in RMAC history and ranks tied for second most in NCAA Division II in 2016-17.
Seven times this season the senior has totaled five or more blocks in a game.
As a team, the ThunderWolves lead the RMAC and rank second nationally in total blocks with 153. The 5.7 blocked shots per game is 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 12th.
RMAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Center Nelson Kahler has used his big block numbers to earn RMAC Defensive Player of the Week honors four times this season (Jan. 9, Jan. 16, Feb. 13 and Feb. 27). He owns eight career weekly league honors.
The ThunderWolves are 10-2 at home this season and under sixth-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 52-27 (.658) home record. This season the ThunderWolves are outscoring opponents 84.7-73 at Massari Arena.
LEADING THE WAY
The Pack's leading scorer is Mark Williams with 14.3 points per game (16th in RMAC). He has come off the bench in 20 of the 27 games. He is shooting 57.8 percent from the field (sixth in RMAC) and adds 5.8 rebounds per game (16th in RMAC). The junior's 65 offensive rebounds is fifth in the league.
The leading rebounder is guard Rico Spikes, who has 7.0 rebounds per contest to sit sixth in the RMAC. His 3.9 assists per game is seventh in the league, while the senior's 57.0 percent from the field ranks eighth. His 1.5 assist/turnover ratio is ninth, while the 13.5 points per game is 21st.
Will Newman's 4.1 assists per game (112 total) ranks fifth in the conference. His 1.9 assist/turnover ratio is sixth and the 1.3 steals per game (36 total) is tied for eighth in the league, while the 81.9 percent from the charity stripe is 12th.
Josh Smith owns 1.5 steals per game (38 total) to rank sixth in the RMAC.
Nelson Kahler's 61.1 percent is fourth in the RMAC, while his 13.0 points per game ranks 25th.
Stevan Radakovic ranks 14th in blocks with 19.
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 38.9 percent clip from long range to sit fourth in the league and 49th nationally. CSU-Pueblo has knocked down 8.7 3-pointers per contest, which is fifth in the RMAC.
Josh Smith has 65 buckets from beyond the arc to sit seventh in the RMAC, while Gavin Liggett's 2.4 3-pointers per game is ninth (60 daggers from downtown). Liggett has shot 60-of-128 (46.9%) from long range this season to rank fourth in the RMAC.
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 fourth most in NCAA Division II in 2016-17.
The Pack are third in the conference with 15.8 assists per game.
CSU-Pueblo dished out 25 assists in the win against New Mexico Highlands
Feb. 7 and have totaled 20 or more helpers four times.
The ThunderWolves are second in the league and 34th in the country with 85.4 points per game. The team's +8.3 scoring margin is third in the conference and 48th in Division II.
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 99-69 (.589) record in six seasons. He owns the third most wins in ThunderWolves men's basketball history.
The Dec. 30 win against BHSU 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.