It’s a matchup on the college hardwood when the Mountain West Conference travels to battle one of the ACC’s elite on Tobacco Road. The Colorado State Rams are on the road as they make the cross-country trip to face the #4 Duke Blue Devils Friday night. Colorado State opened their season with a 74-63 home win over Denver Tuesday night in their last game. Duke edged #3 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic in the Big Apple Tuesday night in their season-opening contest. The Blue Devils have won both previous meetings between the teams, including an 87-64 victory at home in the most recent matchup on December 7, 2011.
Colorado State Rams Hope to Spring Upset on the RoadColorado State struggled in Niko Medved’s first year as the head coach of the program, finishing the year 12-20 overall and 7-11 in the Mountain West. The Rams have to be happy that they opened this season on a positive note: it will be a much tougher challenge in this contest. Colorado State was tied at seven just over three minutes into the game before reeling off a 21-6 run to seize control of the game. The Rams led by eight at the half and saw their lead trimmed to four at 41-37 with 15:52 to play before regrouping. A 10-0 run over the next three minutes put them up 14 and they weren’t seriously threatened again.
The Rams shot 46 percent from the field, including seven of 23 from three-point range, and drained 21 of 26 free throws in the game. For good measure, Colorado State won the rebounding battle 35-30 and forced 14 turnovers. Kris Martin led the Rams with 18 points in the victory as one of four players in double figures. Adam Thistlewood chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds while Nico Carvacho posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds in the game. Hyron Edwards added 10 points off the bench in the victory.
Duke Blue Devils Look to Open Home Slate With VictoryDuke lost a trio of lottery picks to the NBA draft after last season but, as has been the trend for what seems like forever, the team reloaded and looks to be a force again. The Blue Devils were involved in a back and forth game with Kansas that went down to the wire. As it turned out, the game wouldn’t be decided until the final horn. Duke led by three at the half and 37-32 with 18:19 to play before going cold. The Blue Devils coughed up a 14-0 run to trail by nine with 14:35 to go before getting back on track. Duke regained the lead with just over nine minutes to play before a back and forth run that saw the teams trade the lead over the next several minutes. Leading by one in the final minute, the Blue Devils hit four of four free throws that helped them withstand a last-second three by Kansas and seal the win.
The Blue Devils shot only 35.9 percent from the field, including eight of 24 from three-point range, and overcame missing nine of their 23 free throw attempts. Duke lost the rebounding battle 40-30 and turned the ball over 16 times: they did capitalize by forcing 28 turnovers by the Jayhawks. Kansas helped Duke’s cause by missing 10 of their 26 free throw attempts. Tre Jones led the Blue Devils with 15 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the victory. Cassius Stanley finished with 13 points (11 in the second half) while Vernon Carey Jr. and Matthew Hurt each added 11 points in the win. It will be interesting to see how Coach K divvies up the minutes in his rotation in these early season contests leading into conference play.
The top trends for this contest according to Covers.com:
- Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Friday games
- Rams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Blue Devils are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 vs. Mountain West teams