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Sports / Recreation

Rams host New Mexico on 'Orange Out Night' at Moby

February 9, 2011
By Tony Phifer

Fans are encouraged to wear orange Saturday night when the CSU men's basketball team takes on MWC rival New Mexico. The Rams will be looking to solidify their third-place standing in the league.

CSU sophomore forward Greg Smith and the Rams host New Mexico on Saturday.Orange will be the color of choice at 7 p.m. Saturday when the CSU men’s basketball team hosts New Mexico in a key Mountain West Conference game.

The Rams (16-7, 6-3 MWC) are alone in third place as they head into the final three weeks of the conference season. New Mexico (16-7, 4-5) beat the Rams earlier this season in Albuquerque, and is the only MWC team to beat seventh-ranked BYU.

“This is a huge game for us,” Rams coach Tim Miles said. “New Mexico is playing great, but if we’re going to realize our goal of playing in the NCAA Tournament, we have to finish no worse than alone in third place in our conference. To do that, we have to beat New Mexico – it’s that simple.”

'Orange Out' a hit with fans

The Rams should get a boost from a big crowd on “Orange Out Night” at Moby Arena. Fans are encouraged to wear orange, and the Rams will be wearing their “retro” orange jerseys that pay tribute to CSU’s past when it was known as Colorado A&M and the school colors were orange and green.

Miles, who initiated the “Orange Out” concept last year, has seen his brainchild grow in popularity in a very short time. A football “Orange Out” this fall was enormously popular, with thousands of fans donning orange to watch the Rams beat Idaho.

“This thing just took off and developed a life of its own,” said Ben Chulick, director of marking for the CSU athletic department. “The student section was a sea of orange for the football game, and we expect the same in basketball. I don’t know if it’s the retro feeling or the color orange, but fans have really embraced this.”

The pizza's on the coach

Miles is hoping CSU students, who have filled all 2,700 seats available to them for recent games against San Diego State and BYU, will be a force. As a reward, he is buying pizza for the first 500 students in the door.

“I love our students – they have been awesome this year,” Miles said. “The ‘Orange Outs’ have really been embraced by our students, and our players really love the orange uniforms. Small things like that can really help add to the energy of a game, and we’re going to need that.”

Fans are also encouraged to support the orange theme by visiting Facebook and clicking “like” on the CSU Athletics page. Some of the orange jerseys will be put up for auction following the game.

FirstBank will add to the orange atmosphere by providing orange pompons to the first 5,000 fans in the arena. CSU will also introduce several former players during halftime.

Big crowd expected; tickets still available

Tickets are available online or by calling (970) 491-7267. Students with ID can pick up their tickets at the McGraw Athletic Center ticket office prior to the game.