PUEBLO, Colo. (January 10, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (6-9, 3-6 RMAC) heads north on I-25 Jan. 12-13 to meet up with Metro State University of Denver (7-8, 6-3 RMAC) Friday at 7 p.m. and University of Colorado Colorado Springs (5-10, 2-7 RMAC) Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Last Time Out
The ThunderWolves went 1-1 last weekend in RMAC home contests. Against South Dakota Mines, the Pack erased an early 18-point second half deficit by outscoring the visiting Hardrockers by 27 in the final 20 minutes to post an 87-74 victory.
Down 14 at the half and 18 with 14:30 remaining in regulation, the ThunderWolves (6-8, 3-5 RMAC) won the final 14 minutes by a score of 50-19 to stun the Hardrockers. The Pack shot 56.3 percent from the field in the second half and finished hitting on 50 percent in the game. On the flip side, South Dakota Mines knocked down 56.7 percent from the field in the opening half and shot at just a 32.1 percent clip in the final frame. Free throws were also a key to the comeback, as CSU-Pueblo went 3-for-6 from the line in the first half, then hit on 18-of-20 in the final 20 minutes.
Senior Will Newman (G, Hawthorne, Calif.) scored a team-high 19 points and added nine assists with six rebounds. He shot 6-for-11 (54.5%) from the field, hit 7-of-8 free throws (87.5%) and turned the ball over just once in 39 minutes of action.
Four other players scored in double figures, as senior center Mika Nuolivirta (Vantaa, Uusimaa, Finland) totaled 14 points off the bench with four rebounds. Fellow center Jason Anderson (R-So., Colorado Springs, Colo.) recorded 13 points and pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Sophomore Donovan Oldham (G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) also totaled 13 points, while senior guard Josh Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) hit three 3-pointers and totaled 11 points, eight during the second half run.
The ThunderWolves dropped a 72-67 decision to Black Hills State Saturday. The Pack never led in the game and trailed by five to the Yellow Jackets at the break. The two teams played the second half even, as the home team suffered the five point setback.
The two teams shot about the same from the field with BHSU gaining a slight advantage, 44.8 to 42.4 percent and both teams hit eight 3-pointers. After getting doubled-up in the rebounding department in the last meeting the ThunderWolves closed the gap Saturday, but still suffered a 42-31 loss in the category.
Nuolivirta led the team in scoring with 15 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Newman posted 13 points with four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Junior guard Gavin Liggett (Limon, Colo.) rounded out the top scorers with 12 points behind four 3-pointers. Smith gathered a team-high nine rebounds and added a team-best four steals.
The Roadrunners are 7-8 overall and 6-3 in RMAC play. MSU Denver had won four straight (including handing Colorado Mines their first loss of the season) before suffering two road losses last weekend at Fort Lewis (94-88) and Adams State (80-62). The Roadrunners have played just four home games this season and own a 2-2 record in those contests. Cameron Williams has led the team in scoring in 11 games this season and owns a team-high 20.6 points per game to rank 1st in the conference. Bounama Keita pulls down 7.9 rebounds per game to lead the team and rank 3rd in the conference. The Roadrunners lead the league in offensive rebounds with 13.0 offensive boards per game. MSU Denver is 2nd in the RMAC in steals with 6.6 takeaways per game.
Last Season vs the Roadrunners
The ThunderWolves recorded an 89-70 home victory in the lone meeting with the Roadrunners last season. The Pack opened a 44-29 halftime lead and never looked back. Will Newman had 18 points and seven assists in the win, while Mark Williams added 16 points and seven rebounds. CSU-Pueblo shot 60 percent from the field in the game and 58.8 percent from long range.
The Mountian Lions
The Mountain Lions are 5-10 with a 2-7 RMAC record this season. UCCS has lost five of its last six games with five of those on the road. The Mountain Lions are home this weekend for the first time since Dec. 9 and are 3-3 on their home court this season. Three players are scoring in double figures, guided by Elijah Ross' 14.7 points per game. He also leads the team with 4.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game and adds 5.3 rebounds per contest. Brandon Malone has 11.4 points per game and has hit a team-high 30 3-pointers. UCCS pulls down 39.6 rebounds per game to lead the league, while its +3.5 rebounding margin is 2nd best in the league. The Mountain Lions are 5th in the RMAC with 5.7 steals per game.
Last Time vs the Mountain Lions
The ThunderWolves visited the Gallogly Events Center earlier this season and recorded a 100-88 victory - the Pack's second straight game scoring 100-plus on the Mountain Lions. Donovan Oldham dropped 26 points with four 3-pointers and added nine rebounds in the win. Will Newman recorded 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Mika Nuolivirta recorded 18 points and seven rebounds, while Josh Smith also hit four 3-pointers and totaled 17 points. Last season, CSU-Pueblo won both meetings with UCCS and recorded a 93.5-67.5 scoring advantage in the two games.
With 4.3 blocks per game, the Pack sit 3rd in the RMAC and 29th nationally, while the 65 total blocks is 2nd in the league and 23rd in Division II. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 24 blocks to rank 2nd in the conference and 51st nationally (1.6 bpg is 3rd in the RMAC), while sophomore Donovan Oldham has 13 rejections to sit 11th in the league.
The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 31st nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.2 per contest. The 153 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 23rd in Division II. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 409 3-pointers this season, which is the 2nd most in the league and 25th in Division II.
Senior Josh Smith is 9th in the RMAC in 3-pointers per game with 2.2. Smith's 31 3-pointers is a team best and ranks 11th in the RMAC.
Thanks for the Charity
Senior Will Newman has made (83) and attempted (97) free throws this season to rank 2nd and 4th, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. He ranks 22nd nationally in free throws made and 35th in free throws attempted. His 85.6 percentage from the line is 6th in the conference.
The ThunderWolves average 11.6 turnovers per game, which is the 4th lowest in the RMAC.
Leading the Way
Senior Will Newman is 5th in the league in scoring with 16.8 points per game. He sits 3rd in the conference (22nd nationally) with 92 assists. His 6.1 assists per game is 2nd in the league and 24th in D-II. The senior's 2.0 assist/turnover ratio is 5th best in the league. With 1.5 steals per game he ranks 5th in the RMAC. His 36:12 minutes per game is 2nd in the conference and 34th nationally.
• Senior Mika Nuolivirta is shooting 54.4 percent from the field to rank 6th in the RMAC.
• Sophomore Donovan Oldham leads the team in rebounding with 6.1 boards per game, which ranks T-15th in the RMAC.
RMAC Players of the Week
In his first weekend of competition at CSU-Pueblo, Jason Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned RMAC Offensive Player of the Week honors Dec. 18. The transfer averaged 26.0 points per game and 8.0 rebounds to lead the Pack to wins over Western State and Colorado Mesa University. Anderson sank 76.7 percent from the field (23-for-30), was 2-of-3 (66.7%) from long range and hit on 4-of-6 (66.7%) from the free throw line. Anderson scored 52 total points and brought down 16 rebounds in just 50 minutes (25 mpg) of work.
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.
Newman reaches 1,000 Career Points
Senior Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.) became the 22nd student-athlete in program history to score 1,000 career points at CSU-Pueblo when he dropped 14 points against Western State Colorado University. Newman enters the weekend 33 points away from the top 20 in scoring all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,011 career points.
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 103-78 (.569) 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.
The ThunderWolves are struggling at home this season with a 3-7 record, but under seventh-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 55-35 (.611) record at Massari Arena.
1,000 Career Points Watch
Senior Josh Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) has collected 892 career points, just 108 shy of the milestone. Smith will need to average 8.3 points per game in the remaining guaranteed 13 games to achieve this record.
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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.