Broncos and Rams square off in Mountain West opener

Dec 31, 2014 - 3:45 PM Fort Collins, CO ( - The 24th-ranked Colorado State Rams take their perfect record into Mountain West Conference play, as they tip off the league slate on New Year's Eve against the visiting Boise State Broncos.

Boise State is off to an impressive start as well, the team logging a 10-3 mark. The Broncos recently had a six-game win streak come to an end with a 48-45 loss versus Loyola Chicago on Christmas Eve as part of the Las Vegas Classic. BSU is 2-2 in true road games this season.

At 13-0, Colorado State is off to the best start in program history, and is one of only seven Division I teams still with an unblemished record at this point in the campaign. The 13 wins matched No. 1 Kentucky for the most in the nation, and the Rams are 7-0 at home, five of which have been double-digit decisions.

Colorado State leads the all-time series with Boise State, 7-5, and that includes a 6-1 edge in games played in Fort Collins. The Broncos picked up their first road win in the series last season with an 84-72 win in the only meeting between the two teams.

Boise State was embroiled in a defensive struggle the last time out, as it scored only 45 points in a three-point loss to Loyola Chicago. James Webb III led the Broncos with nine points, marking the first time he was held to single digits since Feb. 22, 2012, at No. 21 UNLV. He also grabbed nine rebounds, with three others securing seven boards apiece. As a team, Boise State shot just 29.6 percent from the field, which included a dreadful 6-of-30 showing from 3-point range. The one saving grace for the Broncos was that they stood tall in yielding only 23.1 percent success from long range to the Ramblers, who turned the ball over a dozen times.

For the season, Boise State is putting up 73.2 ppg while permitting 62.2 ppg, and the team is outshooting the opposition (.468 to .399 overall, .384 to .309 3-point), while goading them into nearly 13 miscues per outing. BSU only commits 10.4 tpg, and has two players averaging double figures in scoring, and a total of five who net at least 8.5 ppg. Derrick Marks leads the way with 16.7 ppg, while Anthony Drmic is close behind at 15.0 ppg. Both have been hampered by injury of late, with the former dealing with a sore back, and the latter a bum ankle. They are both listed as questionable for this contest.

Colorado State was locked in a defensive battle in its last outing as well, as it narrowly escaped New Mexico State with a one-point win. The Rams were led by double-digit scoring performances from J.J. Avila and Stanton Kidd with 19 and 13 points, respectively. Avila narrowly missed a double-double as he also came up with a team-high nine rebounds, to go along with a season-high tying four steals. CSU missed each one of its nine 3-point tries, finishing at 35 percent from the field overall, but it committed only five turnovers compared to 17 for the Aggies, who shot just 38 percent from the floor.

The Rams are outscoring the opposition by 10.1 ppg this season, and they boast four double-digit scorers, led by Avila with 14.5 ppg. The senior forward also spearheads the team's effort on the glass with 7.6 rpg, and he has a club-best 25 steals as well. Other standout performers include Stanton Kidd (12.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg), Daniel Bejarano (11.2 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.7 apg) and Gian Clavell (10.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg). Factor in favorable margins in both rebounding (+5.9) and turnovers (+1.8) and it's not difficult to see why the team is off to a record-setting start.

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