Mountaineers capitalize on 3's, Grizzly misses to clinch RMAC Tourney spot
Ingbretson records first career double-double for ASC
GUNNISON, Colo.— Justin Avalos and Cameron Burney each scored 18 points and combined for nine 3-pointers as the Western State College Mountaineers clinched a spot in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout for the first time since 2000 with a 75-59 win over the visiting Adams State College Grizzlies, who fell for the 10th straight game despite Nate Ingbretson’s (Castle Rock, Colo.) first career double-double.
Avalos scored all of his points from long distance as he was 6-for-11 from the arc for the Mountaineers who won for the fifth time in the last six games while improving to 14-10 overall and to 11-5 in RMAC play, good enough to be right in the thick of a 4-team horse-race for the conference’s West Division title.
The Mountaineers are part of a 3-way tie for second place in the division with Fort Lewis and Mesa State who went head-to-head on Friday in Grand Junction. All three are just a game behind division-leading and idle New Mexico Highland with three games and eight days left in the regular season.
The Grizzlies, who missed 20 free throws throughout the night, are now 4-20 overall and 1-15 in RMAC play.
Ingbretson, who finished with a game and career-high 10 rebounds, was one of three Grizzlies to finish the night with 12 points. Senior Vitor de Zoppa (Sorocaba, Sao Paulo, Brazil) and junior Eric Miller (Aurora, Colo.) did the same.
However, they were not nearly enough to overcome a 13-for-33 (39.4 percent) combined team effort from the free throw line and a 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) night from 3-point territory as the Mountaineers trailed only in the early going while building as much as a 23-point lead.
Avalos controlled the first half as he scored 12 points while leading the Mountaineers to a 34-21 lead at the break.
Burney, who finished with a team-high eight rebounds as well, scored 14 of his points in the second half. Allen McFarland also had 14 points in the second half and 16 overall and finished the night with five assists.
The Mountaineers nailed 12 3-pointers as a team and shot at a 40.0 percent clip from 3-point land and at a 42.4 percent (25-59) rate from the field.
Both teams did a good job of holding on to the basketball committing just nine turnovers each.
The Grizzlies continue their season Saturday at Mesa State, which grabbed a 73-63 win over Fort Lewis, ranked second in this week’s Central Regional rankings. Tip-off from Grand Junction is at 8 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.