Skyhawks outlast Grizzlies in Double OT
ALAMOSA, Colo.ó The Fort Lewis College Skyhawks held Adams State College to just three overtime field goals while forcing four extra-time turnovers as they outlasted the host Grizzlies in a key 70-69 double-overtime Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win Tuesday night in Plachy Hall. Shooting 54.5 (6-for-11) percent from the field in the extra 10 minutes, the Skyhawks improved to 9-6 overall, but more importantly, to 5-3 in conference play, good for a slim half-game lead over idle Mesa State in the West Division standings. The Grizzlies dropped to 5-10 overall and 3-5 in league action with their seventh straight setback.
The game was close throughout with neither team leading by more than six. There were 13 lead changes and 11 ties.
Although it was fitting that it went to overtime, the Grizzlies had their opportunities to win it in regulation and again in the first overtime period.
Rallying from a 56-52 deficit at the 5-minute mark, the Grizzlies clamped down and came up with five straight defensive stops as Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.) and Greg Baker (Lewisville, Texas) hit buckets to tie the game with 1:41 left.
The Grizzlies then came up with another defensive rebound before one of their 18 regulation turnovers gave the Skyhawks the ball with a chance to go ahead once again. Then, with 40 seconds to go, Kent Grams misfired on a Skyhawk 3-pointer before ASC ran the clock down. Unable to generate anything offensively, the Grizzlies used their final regulation timeout with 11 seconds left to draw up a new play.
The Grizzlies were again unable to get anything going as Skyhawk junior Tim Bieri stole the ball from Baker as the regulation buzzer sounded.
It was the Skyhawk defense that took over as the Grizzlies came up empty on their first three trips down the floor in the first overtime. Meanwhile, Guy Meyer and Gerald Bryant hit jumpers around a Grizzly turnover to build a 60-56 lead before ASC missed its only free throw opportunity of the first overtime.
Then, ASC junior Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) came up with back-to-back clutch steals near the time line. Converting the first into two free throws, Jensen fed Baker for a crowd-roaring dunk on the second as ASC tied the game at 60 with 47 seconds remaining.
Baker then blocked a Bryant 3-pointer with 16 seconds left before a potential game-winning 8-footer from Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) bounced off the rim into and then out of Moniakís hands.
Calling timeout with three seconds left, the Skyhawks were then only able to manage a running 35-footer from Ryan Johnson that slammed off the backboard as the teams went into the second overtime period tied at 60.
Moniak then hit one of two free throws to give ASC a 61-60 lead at the start of overtime before Bieri scored a layup for two of his team-high 15 points as the Skyhawks retook the lead.
Jensen, ASCís 3-point shooting specialist, then nailed his first of the night giving ASC a 64-62 lead before Johnson, who had 10 points off the bench, answered right back giving FLC a 65-64 edge.
Johnson, who scored eight of his points in the second overtime, then hit another jumper, putting FLC up 67-64 before Moniak scored two of his game and career-high 23 points from the line, trimming the deficit to one (67-66). Again, Johnson stepped up, drilling a 3-pointer from the top of the circle after a Meyer kickout
Not going away, the Grizzlies trimmed the deficit to three as Baker hit one of two free throws before Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 at the other end, giving the Grizzlies life.
Moniak converted with a layup with 19 seconds left cutting the deficit to one before the Skyhawks beat the press giving Meyer an easy layup attempt. However, Meyer missed as Charles, Jr. came up with the rebound before Bieri intercepted his long pass to preserve the win.
The Grizzlies shot 42.4 percent (25 of 59) from the floor throughout the night while holding the Skyhawks to a 39.7 percent (25 of 63) clip. The Skyhawks did hit 11 treys and shot 47.8 percent on 23 attempts from beyond the arc. ASC was 7 of 20 (35.0 percent).
The Grizzlies also had a 44-35 rebounding edge and a 20-10 assist lead while dominating points in the paint, 37-22. However, the Skyhawk bench outscored ASCís 38-15 and came up with more of the clutch plays.
ASC junior Rajshad Anderson (Lewisville, Texas) made his first career start and scored a career-high 12 points while Baker, his former Lewisville High School and North Lake Junior College teammate, finished with 10. Bryant and Ryan Jameson were also in double-figures for the Skyhawks, scoring 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Grizzlies have less than 48 hours to bounce back and will host Colorado State-Pueblo (6-9, 2-5 RMAC) on Thursday at 8 p.m. The Skyhawks return home to face the ThunderWolves on Saturday at 8 oíclock. ASC will travel to Durango for a re-match on Feb. 21 in the final week of the regular season.
The double-overtime game was ASCís first since playing a triple-OT affair at FLC on Feb. 18, 2003. The Skyhawks, who won that game 91-83, had also not played in a game that went to two extra periods since then.