Grizzlies overcome 33 turnovers in season-opening win
Richards, Osborn register double-doubles
ESPANOLA, N.M.— Marqus Richards (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Jack Osborn (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) each recorded double-doubles as the Adams State College men’s basketball team overcame 33 turnovers and a furious Northern New Mexico College rally to hold on for a 89-77 season and Louis Wilson coaching era-opening road win over the Eagles, Tuesday night here in the Eagle Memorial Sportsplex.
The Grizzlies, who used a high-pressure defense to force 26 Eagle turnovers, 19 of which came in the opening half, scored the first 11 points of the game and led by as many as 18 with 12:38 left in the second before turnovers on each of their next four possessions helped allow the Eagles to pull within three.
However, the Grizzlies, who never trailed, outlasted the ugly stretch as Richards finished the night with 21 points and 11 rebounds leading all players in both categories. Osborn, one of just five returning letterwinners on the new-look squad, had 14 points and 10 boards to record his first career double-double. The 6-foot-10 sophomore, who set career highs in both categories, was also 6-for-10 from the field as the Grizzlies shot 53.1 percent (18-34) from the field.
Junior Deray Wilson (Anchorage, Alaska) also chipped in 16 points, 11 of which came in the first half, and five assists while hitting his first five and 7 of 11 total shots.
Gabriel Martinez led four Eagles in double figures with 17 points while Mario Caetano nailed three 3-pointers while scoring 11 overall points. Clarence Rivas also tallied 16 points, including eight from the charity stripe while Billy Grayson added 12 more.
The Grizzlies had 17 steals on the night, the most for an ASC squad in nearly 14 years, including an impressive 14 in the opening half. Jamiko Verner (Denver, Colo.) had a game-high four of those steals and added five assists and five points but was also guilty of nine turnovers on the night.
The Grizzlies had five steals in the first four minutes alone and went up 11-0 on a pair of Wilson transition baskets before Caetano put the Eagles on the scoreboard with his first trey 4:06 into the game.
The Grizzlies would extend their lead to 15 (19-4) more than three minutes later but watched the Eagles pull within 22-18 with an 11-0 run highlighted by a Grayson 3-pointer.
The Grizzlies would then hit each of their next four shots to quickly build their lead back to double-figures and were up 46-36 at the break despite a Martinez 3-point play with eight seconds left in the half.
The Eagles then scored the first four points of the second half to slice the gap to just six before an Osborn layup triggered a 16-4 Grizzly run over the next 5:26.
Leading 62-44 at that point and by the same 18-point margin (63-45) after an exchange of free throws, the Grizzlies suddenly got sloppy as they committed seven turnovers over the next four minutes allowing the Eagles back into the game, down just 69-64 with 8:24 to go.
Grizzly senior co-captain Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) then converted a 3-point play helping Adams State build the lead back to nine before a 3-point play by Grayson followed by another Grizzly turnover allowed the Eagles to cash in for three Rivas free throws when he was fouled by Wilson beyond the arc.
With their lead suddenly trimmed to just 74-71 with 6:11 still left, the Grizzlies then got a fast-break dunk by Osborn after beating the ensuing full-court press to help stop the bleeding but only led by three (76-73) with 5:30 left and by just six (83-77) with three minutes left.
However, the Grizzlies were able to hold on as the Eagles missed each of their last five shots, all from 3-point land, down the stretch.
The Eagles, who were dominated 56-24 in paint scoring, were just 6-for-26 (23.1 percent) from 3-point territory while the Grizzlies attempted just eight 3-pointers, making three (37.5 percent).
The Grizzlies, who used 12 players in their high-energy attack, also dominated bench scoring as Richards and Wilson helped lead the way to a 54-37 advantage in that category.
The Grizzlies also claimed 16 offensive rebounds and a 49-30 edge in total caroms as the Eagles’ top rebounders in Martinez and Eric Watson had just four rebounds each.
The Grizzlies are now 3-0 all-time against the NAIA Division II squad winning both all-time road meetings by a dozen points.
The Grizzlies will now return home to host the Adams State Bankers Classic against two other non-NCAA members in Tennessee Temple and Oakwood (Ala.) on Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. Both games tip-off at 8 p.m. and can be heard live on KSPK-FM (104.1 in Alamosa) or via the internet at www.kspk.com.
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