Moniak hits huge 3-pointer to lift ASC over Mines
GOLDEN, Colo.— Larry Mortensen did not design it that way, but he will certainly take it.
Junior Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.), one of the most unlikely long distance shooters on the Adams State College men’s basketball team, hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 14.3 seconds remaining to break a 55-55 tie lifting the Adams State College Grizzlies to an important 60-55 road win over the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers on Saturday night in Volk Gymnasium.
Mortensen, now just two wins away from 100 in his collegiate coaching career, called timeout with 36 seconds remaining. Not able to convert the designed offensive play, the Grizzlies and senior Greg Baker (Lewisville, Texas) turned to Moniak who drilled the trey from the right corner of the floor with less than five seconds left on the shot clock giving the Grizzlies, now 5-3 overall and 3-1 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play, their fourth win in five games.
Moniak, who had made just two three pointers in ASC’s first seven games had four against the now 5-5 (1-3 RMAC) Orediggers while matching a career-high with 17 points.
Baker finished with 20 points, a night after matching a career-high with 22 against Colorado Christian. He also shared game-high honors with Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) and Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) with four assists, none bigger than the short kick-out pitch to Moniak after he got stopped on the baseline.
Trailing 58-55 after the Moniak heroics, the Orediggers went to their Saturday night leader in freshman Kyle Pape. The 6-foot-2 guard from Honolulu, Hawai’i scored a career-high 24 points, 17 in the second half, but could not hit a potential game-tying three that bounced off into the left corner.
Mortensen grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Ben Mohr with 3.1 seconds left. However, the sophomore guard did not go to the free throw line as the Mohr’s foul was just the Orediggers’ sixth of the half.
ASC then had some difficulties on the ensuing inbounds pass that Baker saved along the right sideline with a jumping and twisting, behind-the-back pass to Jensen, who calmly sunk two game-clinching free throws with nine tenths of a second left. Those two points allowed Jensen to finish with his first career double-double (10 points, 10 assists) as the Orediggers lost a home game for just the third time in the last 22 games.
The second of those losses came against RMAC leading Fort Lewis in overtime on Friday night.
The Orediggers, who had won seven straight at home, came from behind to force overtime in that game and led by five with 1:40 left in the extra period before the Skyhawks outscored them 8-1 down the stretch.
The Grizzlies certainly did not want to go to overtime on Saturday. They trailed just once at 1-0 before gradually building an 11-point lead with one minute left in the first half.
However, the Orediggers used a Clayton Moores bucket and an Alex Hayman 3-pointer at the first half buzzer to trim the deficit to 35-29 at the break.
The Grizzlies did not falter and built a 10-point lead with 13:44 left on free throws following a Davey Iverson technical for hanging on the rim after a dunk. Pape then took over scoring seven straight points to cut the gap to 42-39 with 11:27 to go.
The teams then went into a defensive battle before Pape tied the game at 44 with two free throws at the 6:30 mark, just moments before Moniak put ASC up 47-44 with one of his treys.
Pape would go on to tie the game at 50 with a jumper before the Orediggers had two chances to take the lead. However, ASC came up with the defensive stop and took a 53-50 lead on a Baker 3-pointer at the 2:59 mark.
Pape then hit buckets, including a 3-pointer, around a Moniak jumper to tie the game at 55 with 2:04 left before each team came up empty on patient trips down the floor as the clock went under 40 seconds. The Grizzlies then worked their designed play but could not get a shot off until Moniak swished the game-winner.
ASC will now wrap-up the pre-Christmas schedule with a Monday night match-up at Division I Utah. The Utes are now 5-3 after coming off a 73-43 Saturday afternoon drubbing by 24th-ranked Arizona, a game that was aired on ESPN.
Tip-off in the 15,000-seat Huntsman Center is at 7 p.m. and can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and online at www.kspk.com.