Grizzlies fall to top-seeded Orediggers in RMAC Shootout semis
ASC now awaits Sunday night selection show
PUEBLO, Colo.— The Colorado School of Mines Orediggers held the Adams State College Grizzlies to a season-low 36.2 percent (17-47) shooting effort as they claimed a 69-62 win, Friday afternoon in semifinal action at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout here in the Colorado State Fairgrounds Event Center.
The win allowed the top-seeded and nation's 18th ranked Orediggers to avenge their only loss in the past 12 games and moved the now 24-4 Orediggers into Saturday’s championship game against the winner of the later Friday night semifinal between Metro State and Fort Lewis.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies fell to 20-8 overall. They must now await Sunday night’s NCAA Division II Tournament selection show, which will air on www.ncaa.com at 8 p.m. MST, and will hope for an at-large selection to the tournament, something the Grizzlies have done just once before (2007).
The Grizzlies have already surpassed that team’s win total by three and their NCAA Division II era (1992-93/Present) school-record of 18 wins, set in 2008.
On Friday, the Grizzlies were led by an 18-point effort from junior Marqus Richards (Los Angeles, Calif.), named to the Second Team All-RMAC squad earlier in the week. Richards, who led all players in scoring despite coming off the bench, was 5-for-12 from the field and 8-from-10 from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, junior Shayar Lee (Phoenix, Ariz.) tallied 12 points and 10 rebounds, good for his first double-double of the campaign. Deray Wilson (Anchorage, Alaska) also tallied 14 points to aid the cause.
Gordon Galloway had 16 points and 10 rebounds to pace four Orediggers in double-figures.
The Orediggers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before the Grizzlies got back into what was a back-and-forth game that included three ties and four lead changes in the first half.
Although the first half and the entire second half were nip-and-tuck, the Orediggers were able to build a 29-19 lead at the 6:29 mark of the first half before an 11-1 Grizzly run over the next 3:28 knotted the game at 30.
Lee had the Grizzlies’ only 3-pointer of the half in that run.
However, the Grizzlies were not able to get over the hump and despite splitting the next eight points, the Grizzlies went into the intermission down 36-34 after a Dale Minschwaner bucket in the waning moments of the half.
The second half was just as close although the Orediggers would not give up the lead.
Leading by seven (43-36) after a 7-2 run over the first 2:36 of the half, the Orediggers then watched the Grizzlies go on a 6-0 run, all from the free throw line, to close within a point.
Galloway then scored four points in a 6-0 Oredigger run that put the CSM back ahead by seven points with 12 minutes to go.
The Grizzlies did not go away and pulled within 49-46 on two Richard buckets in the next 1:11 but could never get over the hump as the Orediggers maintained no more than 2-possession lead until making all four free throws in the final minute to close out the win.
The Grizzlies played the entire game without normal starting point guard Jamiko Verner (Denver, Colo.), who has missed 2 of the last 3 games due to injury. Verner, the RMAC steals leader, gave way to game-starter Davin Anderson (Louisville, Ky.) and to Wilson.
The Grizzlies also played much of the opening 20 minutes without their top shooters as both Seth Heinbaugh (Prescott Valley, Ariz.) and Jack Osborn (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia), who both rank amongst the RMAC’s top five in field goal percentage, both picked up two fouls early on.
That pair played just seven combined minutes in the first half and 27 overall and took just three field goal attempts.
However, the Grizzlies did get a solid effort from senior forward Nate Ingbretson (Castle Rock, Colo.), who recorded nine points and a season-high, in a season-high 32 minutes to help make up the difference.
Sitting back in a zone defense much more than normal because of the, the Grizzlies were only able to claim six steals, just more than half of their NCAA Division II era school-record season average of 11.7 per game coming in.
The Grizzlies entered the week ranked ninth and just outside of the NCAA Division II tournament picture but did defeat New Mexico Highlands, ranked eighth, in a double-overtime classic on Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round of the shootout. Mesa State, which was ranked fifth, also dropped a quarterfinal round match-up to Fort Lewis on Tuesday and dropped an overtime meeting with the Grizzlies a week ago in Grand Junction.
Grizzly Club members are invited to join the Grizzly squad for a Selection Show Watch Party, which will begin at 7 p.m. in the Dr. Joe I. Vigil Hall of Fame Room in Plachy Hall. The women’s selection show will begin at 7:30 p.m. followed by the men’s at 8 p.m.