ThunderWolves focused on first RMAC win with roadie to CMU and WSCU Dec. 15-16

ThunderWolves focused on first RMAC win with roadie to CMU and WSCU Dec. 15-16

PUEBLO, Colo. (December 14, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (3-7, 0-4 RMAC) looks to get off the schneid Dec. 15-16, as they go on the road for a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contests. The ThunderWolves battle Colorado Mesa University (6-4, 2-2 RMAC) Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Western State Colorado University (3-7, 1-3 RMAC) Saturday at 7 p.m.

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1,000 Career Points Watch

Senior Will Newman owns 973 career points, just 27 shy of 1,000 for his career. Senior Josh Smith sits at 875 career points, just 125 shy of the milestone. He will need to average 6.9 points per game in the remaining guaranteed 18 games to reach the mark. In the program's history, 21 have reached 1,000 career points. 

Last Time Out

The ThunderWolves shot 26.9 percent in the first half and 42 percent in the game, while shooting 38.5 percent from long range. Westminster shot 42.6 percent in the game and 40 percent from long range. 

Five players scored in double figures with sophomore Donovan Oldham (G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) and freshman Corey Seng (G/F, Highlands Ranch, Colo.) leading the way with 12 points. Oldham also tied for the team lead in rebounds with five. Senior Josh Smith (G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) finished with 11 points, five rebounds and team-high four assists. 

The ThunderWolves trailed 10-2 six minutes into the contest, but battled back to lead by three at 20-17 with six minutes remaining in the first half. The Pack's last lead came at 21-20 with 4:16 left, as the halftime deficit was 28-21. 

CSU-Pueblo trailed by four at 47-43 with 14:31 remaining on two Seng free throws, but an 8-2 run handed the home team a 10 point lead with 12:35 remaining. The ThunderWolves wouldn't get within nine the rest of the way in the 11-point loss.

The Mavericks

The Mavericks are 6-4 overall and 2-2 in RMAC play. After losing its first two games, CMU rattled off five straight before dropping RMAC games to Westminster (74-62) and nationally-ranked Fort Lewis (96-80). Colorado Mesa bounced back last weekend with an 90-87 win at Adams State. CMU is 3-3 at home this season. CMU is averaging 83.1 points per game to sit sixth in the league, but is allowing 82.2 points per contest (11th in the league). The Mavericks have two scoring leaders in the top six in the RMAC, as Emilio Acedo is averaging 18.1 points per game, while Connor Nichols adds 17.6 points per contest. Acedo's 45.8 percentage from 3-point range is third, while Nichols' 54.4 percent from the field is fourth in the league.  

Last Season vs the Mavericks

The ThunderWolves went 1-1 against the Mavericks last season. The Pack won 85-75 at home before suffering a end-of-regular-season loss by the score of 96-85. In the two meetings, Will Newman combined for 30 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Mark Williams added a combined 29 points with nine rebounds. 

The Mountaineers

The Mountaineer own a 3-7 overall record with a 1-3 mark in league play. The lone RMAC win came at home against Westminster (79-69), while Western owns a 2-1 record at home in 2017. Last weekend WSCU went on the road and fell to Adams State (94-81) and Fort Lewis (93-92). The Mountaineers rank fourth in the RMAC in scoring with 83.4 points per game, but allow 86.1 points per contest (13th in the league). Western is 14th in the league in 3-point shooting at 32.7 percent, but it has attempted the most 3-pointers by any team at 318 (104 made is second). WSCU is guided by Collin Smith's 15.7 points per game, while Ben Beauchamp adds 14.6 points and 3.6 assists per game. Beauchamp's 2.1 assist/turnover ratio is fifth in the league.

Last Season vs the Mountaineers

The ThunderWolves went 2-0 against the Mountaineers last season, which included a 103-80 victory at home. In the contest in Gunnison, the Pack recorded an 89-75 victory behind 19 points (five 3-pointers) from Gavin Liggett. Mark Williams dropped 18 points on 9-for-11 (81.8%) shooting in the home victory. In the two games CSU-Pueblo shot 54.9 percent from the field.

Block Party

With 5.1 blocks per game, the Pack sit 2nd in the RMAC and 15th nationally, while the 51 total blocks is 1st in the league and 14th in Division II. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 21 blocks to rank 2nd in the conference and 20th nationally, while sophomore Donovan Oldham has 11 rejections to sit sixth in the league. 

Long Range

The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 25th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.8 per contest. The 108 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 23rd in Division II. The team's 38.2 percent is the 6th best in the RMAC. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 283 3-pointers this season, which is the 2nd most in the league and 19th in Division II.  

Senior Josh Smith is 3rd in the RMAC in both 3-pointers made with 27 and made per game with 3.0. He ranks 5th in the conference with a 42.2 percentage from long range. Senior big man Mike Nuolivirta is hitting on 9-of-17 from long range (52.9) this season.

RMAC Player of the Week

Senior Will Newman earned his first-career RMAC Defensive Player of the Week award Nov. 27 after a strong performance against UCCS. He totaled 25 points and eight rebounds, seven defensive. He knocked down 9-of-11 from the field and a pair of 3-pointers, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The senior added a blocked shot, steal and five assists.  

Home Cookin'

The ThunderWolves are struggling at home this season with a 2-6 record, but under seventh-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 54-34 (.614) record at Massari Arena. 

Thanks for the Charity 

Senior Will Newman has made (62) and attempted (72) free throws this season to rank second and third, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. He ranks 16th nationally in free throws made and 25th in free throws attempted. His 86.1 percentage from the line is eighth in the conference. 

The Pack are shooting 74.1 percent from the line this season to rank sixth in the RMAC.

Ball Security

The ThunderWolves average 11.8 turnovers per game, which is the second lowest in the RMAC. 

Leading the Way

• Senior Will Newman is 6th in the league in scoring with 16.8 points per game. He sits 2nd in the conference (33rd nationally) with 55 assists, while his 5.5 assists per game is 3rd in the league. With 1.6 steals per game he ranks fifth in the RMAC. His 36:00 minutes per game is 2nd.

• Sophomore Donovan Oldham leads the team in rebounding with 7.1 boards per game, whch ranks 7th in the RMAC.

• Senior Mika Nuolivirta is shooting 51.0 percent from the field to rank 7th in the RMAC. 

Coaching Milestone

Head Coach Ralph Turner earned win number 100 as the CSU-Pueblo bench boss with an 84-65 home win against Rogers State to start the season Nov. 10. As the CSU-Pueblo head coach, he owns an 102-76 (.573) record in seven seasons. He owns the third most wins in ThunderWolves men's basketball history. 

The Dec. 30, 2016 win against Black Hills State was the 450th in his storied men's basketball collegiate head coaching career that spans 22 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.