Grizzlies defeat No. 22 West Texas A&M 69-62 for first win of season
by David Mejia
CANYON, Texas— What a difference a week makes for the Adams State College men’s basketball team. The Grizzlies got in the win column against host West Texas A&M on Friday at the Holiday Inn/Coca Cola Classic Tournament, defeating the host Buffaloes 69-62 in a hard-fought preseason contest.
The win was most impressive by Adams State because the win snapped a 19-game home winning streak by West Texas A&M, which was ranked 22nd in the Division II Bulletin Preseason Top 25. The Buffaloes, who won the Lone Star Conference and played in the South Central Regional Tournament last season, last loss on their home court was Jan. 22, 2005.
Adams State, now 1-2, began the regular season by hosting the Town & Country Cool Sunshine Classic Tournament at Plachy Hall last weekend and dropped both games. The Grizzlies, who put in a good week of practice, then made the 6-hour trek to Canyon, Texas and were able to get their first win of the season.
Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) opened the scoring for the Grizzlies with a 3-pointer and scored six of his team-high 13 points in the first half. Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.) scored 12 points, while Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) had 11 points in a reserve roll. Jensen, Moniak and Russ Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif.) each had seven rebounds in the game.
The Grizzlies were able to battle back in the first half after trailing by as many as six points during the first half, were able to battle back and knot the score at 33-33 by intermission. Adams State gained the lead in the second half and stretched it to 54-45 on a trey by Charles with 9:13 remaining, and was able to stretch the lead to nine when Moniak banked a lay-up a minute later for a 56-45 advantage.
Jensen’s three-pointer with 4:31 left gave the Grizzlies a 59-49 margin, but proved to be the largest of the game before the Buffaloes made their final run. Adams State was able to build the lead with opportunistic offense and a fine defensive effort.
West Texas A&M (0-3) was able to get to within 65-60 with 12 seconds remaining, but clutch shooting and a old-fashioned defensive effort enabled Adams State to fend off a final stampede from the Buffaloes. The Grizzlies’ ball-handling duo of Charles and Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) responded by dropping six crucial free throws down the stretch. Charles made four consecutive free throws, while Mortensen made the last two in a row to close out the scoring. For the game, the Grizzlies were 14-of-22 from the charity stripe during the contest.
Adams State will now face Southwest Oklahoma State University in the championship game of the tournament at 8 p.m. CST, Saturday. The Bulldogs are 3-0 on the young season after defeating Ouchita Baptist (Ark.) by an 88-75 score in the earlier game of the tournament. The contest can be heard live on KSPK-FM (103.5) or via the internet at www.kspk.com.