Grizzlies stop Mountaineers cold in heated rivalry game
Graber leads Grizzlies for second straight game
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The defensive-minded Adams State College Grizzlies held arch-rival Western State College to just one field goal while forcing 11 turnovers in the first 14 minutes as they built a 23-point first half lead before holding on for a very physical 80-64 win over the Mountaineers in front of a boisterous crowd of 2,175, Saturday night here in Plachy Hall.
The Grizzlies, who held the Mountaineers to a 15.8 percent (3-19) shooting effort and just 12 points in the first half, shot 31 free throws in the second half alone as they improved to 13-6 overall and to 7-4 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, good for second place in the West Division standings. The victory was the ninth straight at home for ASC, which avenged their only home loss since Jan. 4, 2007, a span of 14 games.
The Mountaineers, who defeated the Grizzlies 77-70 on Feb. 10, 2007, hit eight treys in the hard-fought and chippy second half of this contest but fell to 7-12 and to 5-6 in the RMAC with their fourth loss in five games.
The Grizzlies were 34 of 47 (72.3 percent) from the free throw line as the Mountaineers were called for 31 fouls, including one of the intentional variety on Steven Hudson as brewing tempers finally boiled over with 1:05 left.
Both teams had been in the double-bonus for more than six minutes prior.
Although the defense was stellar, holding WSC to just a 35.2 percent (19-54) shooting effort, the Grizzly offense was pretty solid as well.
Taking just 14 field goal attempts in the second half, due mainly to the fouls and 14 second-half turnovers, the Grizzlies were 57.1 percent (8-14) from the field in the final stanza and a solid 51.3 percent (20-39) overall.
Junior Brandon Graber (Hutchinson, Kan.) led the Grizzly attack for the second straight game as he scored a game-high 18 points, 12 of which came from the line. He was also 3-for-3 from the field.
Senior Travis Carr (Canon City, Colo.) was 4-for-6 from 3-point land and also recorded seven rebounds and three assists to rack up 16 points. Fellow senior guard Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) was also in double figures with 14 points, half of which came from the line.
Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott, Ariz.), in the starting lineup for just the third time this season, finished with a career-high 10 rebounds while senior Rece Hampton (Greenwood, Miss.) had nine points, seven rebounds and four steals.
Carleton Goggins and Justin Avalos, who each had four 3-pointers in the second half, led the Mountaineers with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The Grizzlies jumped out to a 10-2 lead and built that advantage to 29-6 before two Daniel Hobin free throws and a jumper by the 6-foot-7 forward, just WSC’s second field goal of the game, with 3:54 left in the first period cut the Grizzly lead to 29-10.
Charles, Jr. then capped an 8-2 run to end the half as he hit a trey from the right wing with just five seconds left in the half giving the Grizzlies a 25-point lead, their largest of the game to that point, at halftime.
The Grizzlies continued the onslaught in the early stages of the second half as Graber scored six points, all from the line, in an 8-1 run that allowed the Grizzlies to go up by 32 with 16:53 to go.
Goggins then answered with a 3-pointer as the Mountaineers shaved 10 points off the lead in the next 3:37. WSC would continue to cut the gap to as little as 14 as Avalos hit three treys on as many possessions before the game turned into mostly a free throw shooting contest for a majority of the final nine minutes.
However, the Grizzlies did more than enough as they were 80.6 percent (25-31) from the charity stripe in the second half to ice the win, their fourth in five tries.
The Grizzlies were a solid 4-for-6 from beyond the arc in the first half and 6-for-9 (66.7 percent) overall as they dominated the early going.
Carr and Hampton, who had seven of ASC’s first 12 points, both hit 3-pointers in the 10-0 start.
The Grizzlies, a perfect 6-0 at home this season, will play their next three games in The Den as well, starting Friday against 9-9 Mesa State, currently just a game behind the Grizzlies at 6-5 in the RMAC West standings.
The Grizzlies also host division-leading Fort Lewis and Colorado State-Pueblo, which knocked off the Grizzlies on Tuesday, on Feb. 2 and 5, respectively. Coach Mark Murdock’s team then travels to Gunnison for a re-match of Saturday’s win on Thursday, Feb. 7.