Grizzlies hope to develop killer instinct during Bankers Classic
ALAMOSA, Colo.— After feeling like they let a win get away on Tuesday, the Adams State College men’s basketball team is anxious to return to the floor and will get that chance this weekend as the Grizzlies host the Adams State Bankers Classic in Plachy Hall.
A total of eight games— four men’s and four women’s— will be played Friday and Saturday as the Grizzlies celebrate their San Luis Valley Fan Appreciation Days promotion, which will allow SLV residents to obtain two admissions for the price of one on each day of the tournament, which is being made possible by the generous support of 1st Southwest Bank, Alamosa State Bank, Rio Grande Savings & Loan, San Luis Valley Federal Bank and the Alamosa Local Marketing District.
The Grizzly men play in two of the games hosting Division III Colorado College, Friday at 8 p.m. before taking on Cal State-Dominguez Hills for the first time in school history on Saturday at the same time.
Chadron State, who the Grizzlies will face in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game on Dec. 20 in Chadron, will also compete in the tournament and will play at 3 p.m. each day facing Cal State-Dominguez Hills on Friday and Colorado College on Saturday.
The Grizzly women are also in action at 6 p.m. each night hosting UC-Colorado Springs, Lubbock Christian (Texas) and West Texas A&M in their half of the tournament schedule.
Second-year coach Mark Murdock’s squad enters the weekend with a 1-1 record after winning at Oklahoma Panhandle State last Saturday before dropping a 74-66 home decision to West Texas A&M on Tuesday night.
The Grizzlies shot just 43.5 percent (10-23) from the free throw line in that game as they came from nine points down in the second half to take a 59-57 lead before coming up with just two free throws on their next six possessions as the Buffs came back for the win in the last five minutes.
“I told the guys after the game it was like we had them (WTAMU) down on their backs with a foot on their throat and ready to stomp on it before we lifted our foot, helped them up, patted them on their back and sent them out the door with the win,” Murdock said.
Although the Grizzlies feel like they could easily be 2-0, Murdock is still happy with his team’s early season progress. “We’re further along defensively than any other team I’ve had. We just need to learn that killer instinct.”
The Grizzlies do have three players averaging 15 or more points on the young season but have received just 27 total points in two games from the bench. Senior guard Sean Amos (Philadelphia, Pa.), who scored 22 points in Tuesday’s loss after pouring in 18 in the win over Oklahoma Panhandle State, leads the way. He is averaging 20.0 points per game and is shooting 51.7 percent from the field.
Sophomore Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott, Ariz.) is also playing well averaging 16.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and six assists per game while hitting four of six 3-point attempts and 54.2 percent (13-24) of his total field goal attempts thus far. He scored 24 points while grabbing 10 boards in Tuesday’s win over the Aggies. Junior point guard Adrian Davis (Lubbock, Texas) has also sparked the Grizzlies scoring 30 points while recording 12 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in just two games.
The Colorado College Tigers will also enter Friday night’s encounter with a 1-1 record after splitting home games last weekend. They defeated La Verne (Calif.) 86-85 in overtime as Brady Ohlsen and Lance Jacobs combined for 45 points before putting up a solid effort in an 82-64 setback to Washington (Mo.), the top-ranked and defending NCAA Division III National Champions.
Nick Rose, who is averaging 15.5 points per game, hit four treys in that game and scored a team-high 21 while Olsen, the biggest player on the Tiger roster at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, tallied 11 points while finishing the weekend averaging a team-high 17.5.
Nate Brodman, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound guard played just five minutes against the Bears after not seeing any action in the win over La Verne. However, Murdock knows how deadly he can be after Brodman hit seven 3-pointers in just 10 attempts to lead an over-matched Tiger squad that fell 87-61 to the Grizzlies last season at a tournament in Colorado Springs.
Things will not get any easier for the Grizzlies on Saturday when they face an explosive Cal State-Dominguez Hills squad that is 1-0 on the young season after a convincing 98-62 home win over Alaska-Fairbanks last Saturday.
The Toros, who hail from Carson, Calif., had 15 players see time in the game, none of which played fewer than 10 or more than 20, as fourth-year coach Damaine Powell used a multitude of lineups in the 36-point win.
Powell’s squad, led by senior forwards Rodney Yearby and Jerrell Smith, the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Co-Newcomers of the Year in 2007-08, finished 17-11 overall and 11-9 in CCAA play and return three starters to the lineup for this campaign. Both Yearby and Smith scored 12 points in the balanced win over the Nanooks as did senior guard Ryan Walton, who missed a majority of last season with an injury.
Jonathan Toliver was also in double figures with 11 points in Saturday’s win and went 3-for-5 from beyond the arc.
The Toros have not come to Colorado since the 1995-96 season when they split games at a tournament hosted by then University of Southern Colorado in Pueblo.
Murdock is hoping that Chadron State can help wear down the high-octane, yet sea-level based squad in Friday’s 3 p.m. tournament opener.
The Eagles are coming off a key 83-78 season-opening win over Augustana (S.D.) last Saturday. Sophomore guard Tim McLaurin, who is one of six active Eagles from California, recorded just the second triple-double in school history in that game as he scored 23 points while registering 11 rebounds and 10 assists. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound sophomore who hails from Compton, Calif., a neighboring Los Angeles suburb to Carson, also had 22 and 17-point efforts in exhibition games against Division I Nebraska and Colorado State.
Third-year coach Brent Bargen’s supporting cast is led by sophomore forward Stacy McAlister, who also hails from Compton and freshman guard Kevin McClelland, who comes from Long Beach. McAlister had 14 points and six rebounds in Saturday’s win over the Vikings while McClelland, one of six active freshmen on the Eagle roster, scored 15, including nine from behind the 3-point line after scoring just two points in 12 combined minutes of exhibition action.
Related Item: Adams State Bankers Classic Website