Grizzlies end otherwise strong 2007 with big loss at Grand Canyon
by Chris Day
PHOENIX— The Adams State College Grizzlies never led and suffered their worst loss of the season as they fell 84-58 to host Grand Canyon University on Saturday night as part of the Trip Sports Classic being held here in the Antelope Gym.
The Grizzlies playing for the first time in 13 days and for the last time in what was a special 2007, received just nine points from their starting five and shot a season-low 36.5 percent (19-52) from the field while falling to 9-3 overall on the campaign.
The ‘Lopes were a sizzling 62.5 percent (30-48) from the floor and had five players in double figures as they improved to 5-2 heading into Pacific West Conference play that begins Wednesday, a day before the Grizzlies re-start Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action at Chadron State.
Senior forward Rece Hampton (Greenwood, Miss.) was the only Grizzly starter to do much of anything as he scored eight points while grabbing six rebounds on a 4-for-4 shooting effort before fouling out with more than 10 minutes left.
The Grizzlies were instead led by Travis Carr (Canon City, Colo.) and Sean Amos (Philadelphia, Pa.), who each scored 14 points. Carr hit four 3-pointers while redshirt freshman Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott, Ariz.) matched a career-high with 10 points, two bright spots on an otherwise unpleasant evening for first-year ASC coach Mark Murdock and the Grizzlies.
Grand Canyon fans and players had a totally different perspective on the game as center Brad Kanis scored a game-high 17 points on his 24th birthday to lead the ‘Lopes to their third straight win.
Kanis hit on his first six field goals and finished the game 8 of 9. Rudy Bogan, who was in foul trouble for much of the night, still managed another 16 points in just 18 minutes of playing time.
The ‘Lopes hardly missed in the opening and quickly built a 23-9 lead on a Kanis dunk just 9:03 in.
Heinbaugh would bring the Grizzlies within seven later in the half before a 10-2 Grand Canyon run over the last three minutes of the half put the ‘Lopes up 37-22 at the break. That spurt was started with three Milee Karre free throws, a microcosm of GCU’s 82.6 percent (19-23) team effort from the charity stripe.
The hosts extended their 15-point lead at halftime to 23 on a Bogan jumper just 5:11 into the second period and then cruised to the victory.
They led by as many as 30 before Forrest Becker (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Brandon Graber (Hutchinson, Kan.) treys in the waning moments cut the final deficit ever so slightly.
The Grizzlies are now 0-3 in the state of Arizona this season when counting an exhibition game against Northern Arizona. They are 9-1 within Colorado’s borders.
Although Saturday’s game was not the end that Murdock would have liked to see to 2007, he and Grizzly fans can take solace in the fact that ASC went a impressive 22-9 during the calendar year that saw the Grizzlies win their first ever Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference West Division Championship before advancing to the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the first time under long-time coach and ASC athletic director Larry Mortensen.
The Grizzlies’ 2007-08 campaign has been just as impressive as the Grizzlies have recorded their best NCAA Division II era (1992-93/Present) start while beginning RMAC play with a 3-1 mark.
On the road for five more of their next six games, the Grizzlies venture to Chadron, Neb. for Thursday’s 8 p.m. match-up with the Chadron State Eagles, currently 3-8 (2-2 RMAC) heading into a Monday afternoon game at Division I Wyoming.
All of ASC’s games can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 & 104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.