Heated rivalry returns to Plachy Friday as Grizzly men host CSM
Ninth-ranked Orediggers, Colorado Christian await ASC men in weekend twofer
ALAMOSA, Colo. – No two Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) teams faced off more last season than Adams State and Colorado Mines, as the two met up in both the RMAC Shootout and NCAA Division II Central Regional tournaments, and now the Grizzlies and Orediggers are set for their first meeting of the 2011-12 season at 8 p.m. Friday night, kicking off an ASC home weekend at Plachy Hall.
After splitting in their regular season match-ups with each team winning on their home court, including a 78-71 ASC win over the then 20th-ranked Orediggers on Feb. 19, Colorado Mines took both post-season meetings. In the RMAC Shootout Semifinals, CSM claimed a 69-62 victory, and then edged ASC, 62-59, in a dramatic NCAA DII Tournament first-round game.
The Orediggers, ranked ninth in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NCAA Division Rankings, will enter Plachy Hall Friday tied for the RMAC lead with records of 12-1 overall and 8-1 in league play.
They’ve won five straight, the longest active streak in the RMAC, and defeated then top-ranked Metro State 68-57 last Friday.
Adams State sits one spot behind CSM and No. 5 Metro State with a record of 9-3 overall and 6-3 in the RMAC. The Grizzlies have lost their last two and three of five after starting the season 7-0.
The Grizzlies continue to lead the RMAC in scoring, dumping in 82.8 points per game, but CSM is close behind with 77.5 per game, led by junior Brett Green’s 17.0 average, which ranks second in the league. The Orediggers also get it done on defense, and have outscored their competition by an average of 15.3 points per game, tops in the RMAC.
CSM also leads the league in rebounding margin, grabbing 7.7 more per game than their opponents, a battle led by Oredigger centers Trevor Wages and Dale Minschwaner, who rank fourth and seventh in the league, respectively.
Friday’s game will feature the league’s most accurate shooters in ASC junior Jack Osborn (Hobart, Tasmania, Australia) and Colorado Mines redshirt-freshman Trevor Ritchie and Wages. Osborn’s 63.6 percent accuracy from the field ranks second in the league, while the Grizzly big man also ranks seventh in scoring at 14.6 points per game. Ritchie and Wages shoot 59.4 percent and 57.1 percent from the field, but neither averages over 10 points per game.
The Grizzlies only victory over nationally-ranked team last season came against the Oredigger, and was their second straight home win over a ranked opponent, having previously beaten a 15th-ranked Mesa State squad at Plachy Hall on Feb. 19, 2010. Adams State also owns an 11-game home winning streak dating back to last season.
Saturday night the Grizzlies will play host to the Colorado Christian Cougars, who sit at 2-11 overall and 1-8 in league play entering the weekend. The Cougars fell to Metro State last Saturday, one night after notching their first RMAC victory of the season, 69-64, over Regis.
Adams State won both match-ups with CCU in 2010-11, and has won four of the last five contests in the series.
While ranking at or near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories, the Cougars have proven to be adept at from the free throw line and from beyond the arc. Led by Kyle Weaver’s 85.7 percent accuracy from the charity stripe, CCU ranks eighth in FT percentage (68.8 percent). Luke Gilliam leads the Cougars’ 3-piont barrage, shooting 45.3 percent from long range while making 2.0 per game. As a team, CCU ranks sixth in the league, making 6.6 triples per night.
Action at Plachy Hall will tip-off at 6 p.m. both nights with women’s games, followed by men’s games at 8 p.m.
Weekend activities at Plachy Hall include a family 5-pack ticket deal on Friday, allowing families to obtain up to five tickets for just $5. Tickets will be available beginning at 5 p.m. at the Plachy Hall ticket window.
On Saturday, fans of both the Grizzlies and Denver Broncos will be pleased to have the opportunity to watch both their favorite teams from Plachy Hall. Television coverage of the Denver Broncos playoff game against the New England Patriots will be showing in the Dr. Joe I. Vigil Hall of Fame room while the Grizzly women take on Colorado Christian. Both games will start at 6 p.m.