Colorado St. Rams vs. CSU Pueblo ThunderWolves Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 17th 2023

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With a week to stew over its only loss of the season, No. 17 Colorado State figures to be a handful when it plays host to CSU-Pueblo on Sunday at Fort Collins, Colo.

Colorado State (9-1) has victories over Creighton, Washington and in-state rival Colorado, but it was against Saint Mary’s last Saturday at home when it met its match in a 64-61 defeat. The Rams led 57-56 with 2:10 remaining then missed two 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds that would have tied the game.

Colorado State entered as one of the top shooting teams in the country at 53.5 percent. The Rams, however, shot 36.7 percent against a relentless defense from Saint Mary’s and 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

“It was one of those nights,” Colorado State head coach Niko Medved said. “That’s a terrific defensive team. I thought our flow wasn’t very good, probably tried to do a little bit too much one-on-one at times, and that’s difficult to do against them. You really have to trust what you’re doing.”

Rams leading scorer Isaiah Stevens (17.5 points per game) had 20 against the Gaels, who started the season in the Top 25.

“I don’t feel like we necessarily helped ourselves with our flow, which is something we’re typically really good at,” Stevens said. “Sometimes that happens, and just in the moment, can we regroup and bounce back?

“I think just trust it. Not only myself but all of us, just continuing to understand what we do on a daily basis works. We’ve seen it work. When it gets tough and when you’re playing these good games against other really good teams, you’re going to have to grind a little bit more through that. I feel we can be more mature in that sense, and that starts with me as the point guard, making sure we’re organized, doing what were supposed to do.”

Patrick Cartier scored 16 points versus Saint Mary’s and Nique Clifford added 15 to go along with 11 rebounds.

“Shots weren’t falling for us, but we have to rely on our defense on those types of nights when we’re not hitting shots like we usually do,” Clifford said. “Our offense was stagnant. We just have to get back to the drawing board and get better.”

Colorado State was without starting guard Josiah Strong, who will miss extended time with a broken wrist.

CSU-Pueblo (6-5) will be facing the only Division I team on its schedule. The ThunderWolves are one of the better perimeter defensive teams in Division II, allowing opponents to shoot just 28.7 percent from distance.

But in a 101-99 overtime defeat to South Dakota Mines on Friday, Pueblo saw its opponent shoot 50.7 from the field and 41.2 percent (14 of 34) from 3-point range.

The ThunderWolves’ Brevin Walter has delivered 36 points twice in his past three games, including Friday, and is scoring 21.4 points per game. Makiah Morris is scoring 13.8 points per game.

“We’re a team, so we just move (the ball) around and it really finds everybody,” Morris said, according to The Pueblo Chieftain.

–Field Level Media

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