Hot start not enough for Grizzlies against CSU-Pueblo
Fox scores 21 for ASC
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The Adams State College men’s basketball team hit 11 of their first 12 shots from the field building their largest lead in 11 conference games this season only to go cold from the field and the free throw line as the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves gradually chipped away at a 19-point deficit before eventually clamping down a 71-64 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the host Grizzlies, Saturday night here in Plachy Hall.
The Grizzlies, who were just 19 of 34 (55.9 percent) from the free throw line, went without a field goal for the final eight minutes of the game as the balanced ThunderWolves did just enough to break a 2-game slide while improving to 11-7 overall and to 6-5 in RMAC play keeping themselves in the thick of the RMAC Tournament chase.
Roman Van Allen led the way canning three 3-pointers while scoring 13 points. He also had seven assists while Chris Busch, Matt Fochtman and Kris Lawrie scored 10 points each for the Pack.
True freshman Nick Fox (Colorado Springs, Colo.) led the Grizzlies with 21 points and seven rebounds. He also had four assists and three blocked shots. Junior Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) also chipped in 11 points and six rebounds for the Grizzlies who have now dropped 10 straight games while falling to 4-15 and to 1-10 in the loop, a full five games behind the Pack, New Mexico Highlands and Western New Mexico, all tied for third place in the RMAC West Division standings.
With just four spots available out of the West Division for the RMAC Shootout in March, the Grizzlies, may need to win all eight of their remaining games to get in.
They certainly had their chances in Saturday’s contest, especially in the early going, as Fox hit each of his first six shots, including just his second 3-pointer of the campaign leading the Grizzlies to their 28-9 start over the first 8:25.
Leading by that same 19-point margin after an Xavier Lewis (San Jose, Calif.) free throw with just 4:36 to go in the half, the Grizzlies were then outscored 11-3 over the rest of the half as the ThunderWolves pulled to within 43-32 at the intermission.
Shooting 57.7 percent (15-26) from the field throughout the first half, the Grizzlies would hit their first two shots of the second half to go up 47-36 but would manage just four field goals the rest of the way as the ThunderWolves tied the game at 51 on a Busch dunk at the 12:27 mark, the exclamation point of a 15-4 Pack run.
Heinbaugh then put the Grizzlies back up 53-51 before the teams played evenly for the next 6-plus minutes as a Heinbaugh free throw with 2:24 to go tied the game at 64.
Heinbaugh then apparently made his second free throw. However, the tally was wiped out when Kek Biel (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) was called for going inside the 3-point arc too soon.
Neither team would score on their next possession before Donell Wells put the ThunderWolves on top 66-64 with a layup with 1:39 to go.
Heinbaugh then drew a Busch foul at the other end but missed both free throw attempts as Van Allen made them pay doubling the Pack’s lead to 68-64 with two free throws with 55.5 seconds left.
The Grizzlies then took nearly 30 seconds to get a shot off on the other end as the Pack grabbed the ensuing rebound. Lawrie then hit 3 of his final 4 free throws in the final 22 seconds as the ThunderWolves sealed the win.
The Grizzlies shot just 30.0 percent (6-20) from the field in the second half but still finished with a slight 45.7 to 40.4 percent advantage overall. However, they were just 8 of 17 (47.1 percent) from the line in the second half.
The Grizzlies, who were just 3 of 15 (20.0 percent) from 3-point land, did block a season-high nine shots in what was one of their best defensive efforts of the campaign.
The Grizzlies now go on the road for their next four games starting next Friday at Western State, which like the Grizzlies, is 1-10 in RMAC play after snapping an 8-game slide with a 94-82 home win over Western New Mexico.
The Mountaineers are 4-14 overall.
Tip-off in Gunnison is slated for 8 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.
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