Grizzlies have much to play for against arch-rivals in Saturday night clash
by Chris Day
ALAMOSA, Colo.ó Two arch-rivals heading in very opposite directions will face off in a key Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference menís basketball match-up on Saturday night in Adams State Collegeís Plachy Hall. The host Grizzlies will enter having won six of their last seven putting themselves in position to contend for a West Division title.
Meanwhile, the Western State College Mountaineers will venture into what should be a hostile environment with just one win in their last nine games. However the Mountaineers, winners just once in their last nine tries, have plenty of motivation in their role as a potential spoiler of an arch-rivalís hope.
Case in point was Thursday night when Colorado State-Pueblo, also with plenty to play for, went to the final buzzer before pulling out a 64-62 win over the Mountaineers, who are now bound to be even thirstier.
ASC, which defeated WSC by a 64-51 count on Jan. 26 in Gunnison, comes into the game with a 10-11 overall mark. More importantly, the Grizzlies stand 9-5 in RMAC play and will be no more than game out of first place depending on how division co-leaders Fort Lewis and Mesa State, do in home games on Friday.
The Mavericks and Skyhawks currently sit at 8-4 but must come to Plachy Hall, where the Grizzlies have won four straight, next week.
The Grizzlies have been shooting the ball well for a month straight as they have shot 50 percent or better in five of their last nine games, all victories. They have also been deadly from long distance nailing 37 treys in the last three games alone.
However, coach Larry Mortensen knows that if an off-night comes along, his teamís defense and ball-handling skills must be better.
Despite hitting 16 3-pointers, the most of any Mortensen team, the Grizzlies committed 21 turnovers and fell to the Skyhawks, who shot 54.7 percent with just 11 turnovers, last Friday in Durango. That was ASCís only loss in the last seven.
The Grizzlies have had a whole host of big buns in the hot streak, a group led by senior forward Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.), who averages a team-best 18.5 points per game. Seniors Rajshad Anderson (Lewisville, Texas) and David Hull (Belen, N.M.) have also been solid while Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) has countered a couple off nights in the scoring column with some strong rebounding efforts.
Junior guards Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) and Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) have also been solid pitching in 33 combined assists in the last three games alone.
The Mountaineers, who were held to just 51 points and a 35.1 percent shooting effort in their first meeting with the Grizzlies, are led by junior guard Carleton Goggins, who averages 16.0 points per game. He is the only Mountaineer to average in double-figures although Al Sokaitisí team is quite balanced with five other players averaging 5.5 or more points per game.
One of those players is senior guard Lorens Knudsen, who also leads the team with 80 assists and 42 steals.
The game will tip-off at 8 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) or via the internet at www.kspk.com. It will also be televised on a tape-delay basis on KSPK-TV. Airings are scheduled for Feb. 17 and 24, beginning at 6 p.m.
J.J. Jumper, the official mascot of NCAA basketball, will also be making an appearance.
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