Valiant Grizzlies battle 'Cats before falling
by Chris Day
TUCSON, Ariz.— 1997 NCAA National Champions.
Four Final Four appearances.
Twenty-three straight NCAA “March Madness” dances.
Impressive numbers for sure.
However, the Adams State College men’s basketball team overcame and battled all of them and the University of Arizona Wildcats, who eventually pulled away to a 88-64 win over the pesky Division II Grizzlies in front of a crowd of nearly 13,000 on Thanksgiving eve here in the McKale Center.
The Wildcats, ranked 17th in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll until falling to Virginia last Saturday and out of the polls on Monday, had six players in double figures as they improved to 3-1 under interim head coach Kevin O’Neill.
The Grizzlies, led by 23 Rece Hampton (Greenwood, Miss.) points fell to 2-1.
Hampton also had four steals while hitting 11 of 16 shots from the field.
Senior guard Larry Charles, Jr., a Cienega High School product, scored another 13 in his return to his hometown. Senior Travis Carr (Canon City, Colo.) and junior Sean Amos (Philadelphia, Pa.) were also in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively
ASC, playing in front of a regional television audience, shocked the Wildcats in the early going, taking a 19-14 lead. The Wildcats then took advantage of back-to-back transition treys in an 8-0 and 17-2 run that allowed the home team to lead 42-30 at the break.
The Grizzlies shot an impressive 56.5 percent (13-23) in the first half and 53.1 percent (26-49) throughout while racking up 38 points in the paint. However, UA took advantage of 11 ASC first-half turnovers and the height factor as they scored 46 inside points of their own.
Outscored 28-8 in the late going of the first half, the Grizzlies cut the intermission deficit to 12 on a Carr 3-pointer before the break. A 6-0 spurt from the valiant Grizzlies to begin the second half trimmed that deficit in half before another 9-0 Wildcat run put the home team ahead 51-36.
The Grizzlies did not give up and used another 6-0 spurt to close within 51-42 forcing O’Neill to call a timeout with 14:35 to go.
However, the bigger ‘Cats started to dominate in the late going as they went 22-for-26 from the line throughout while ending the game on a 15-4 run as they cruised to victory in the last of a 4-game home stand.
Arizona now travels to Lawrence, Kan. for a Sunday night meeting with the University of Kansas. The Grizzlies next play Division III Colorado College, 0-2 thus far, on Friday afternoon in the first game of the Hyatt Place Mountain Lion Classic, hosted by the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. and can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.
The Grizzlies also play Oklahoma Panhandle State, currently 1-0, in that tournament on Saturday at 1 p.m.