Hot-shooting Grizzlies claim first RMAC win, 89-76
ALAMOSA, Colo.— A hot-shooting Adams State College men’s basketball team made sure it wasn’t a pleasant homecoming for former ASC assistant coach Russ Caton on Saturday night, as the Grizzlies drained buckets from all over the court in an 89-76 win over the visiting University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions. The win snapped a 5-game losing streak for the Grizzlies, now 2-7 overall and 1-1 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. UCCS dropped to 5-2 overall and and even 1-1 in the league.
The Grizzlies, who struggled to convert on baskets in Friday night’s RMAC-opening loss to Regis University, seemingly couldn’t miss on Saturday, shooting the ball at a blistering 63.2 percent clip (36-for-57). ASC also nailed 9 of 16 baskets from 3-point range, many of those coming during key scoring runs late in the first half.
Defensively, the Grizzlies also came up big. Despite allowing a career-high 29 points to UCCS’s big center, Bly McGuire, the Grizzlies held the league’s leading scorer Patrick Hannaway to just 12 points, well below the senior’s 27-points-per-game average. ASC also forced Hannaway into six turnovers, while McGuire scored 13 of his 29 points at the free throw line.
Grizzly senior Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.) scored a career-high 27 points to lead a balanced offensive attack. Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) added 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from long range, while senior Russ Murrey (El Cerrito, Calif.) put up 10. In all, nine different Grizzlies got into the scoring column.
ASC also took care of the ball, dishing out 26 total assists while committing just seven turnovers in the win. Grizzly point guards Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) and Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) combined for 13 of those assists and just one turnover, as ASC claimed a decisive 24-8 edge in points off turnovers.
“When your point guards can take care of the ball like that,” said head coach Larry Mortensen after the game, “that’ll win you a lot of games.”
Charles, Jr.'s six dishes tied a season-high for the junior.
After letting the Mountain Lions out to the early advantage, the Grizzlies re-claimed the lead on a Moniak trey at the 15:14 mark of the first half. ASC never looked back from that point on, stretching its lead to as many as 11 in the first half, and 18 in the second, eventually claiming the 13-point victory.
UCCS cut the lead to five early in the second half, and again to six with just over ten minutes remaining in the game, but the Grizzlies responded to every threat with defensive stops and transition baskets to keep the Mountain Lions at bay.
ASC’s steller shooting night was the best showing since exactly one year ago, when the Grizzlies shot 65.0 percent on Dec. 9, 2005 against Metro State College. Their 56.3 percent effort from long range was also the best since the Grizzlies shot 57.1 percent from beyond the arc on Feb. 3, 2004.
ASC will have little time to celebrate the victory, as the Grizzlies look forward to another tough pair of RMAC East Division teams in Colorado Christian University and 16th-ranked Metro State next weekend. The Grizzlies will face the Cougars of CCU at 8 p.m. on Friday night in Lakewood, before closing out the road trip at Metro State’s Auraria Events Center on Saturday night, starting at 7 p.m. Both games can be heard on KSPK-FM, 103.5 in Alamosa or online at www.kspk.com.