Grizzlies jump out to big lead, cruise to 18-point win
ALAMOSA, Colo.— The Adams State College men’s basketball team jumped out to a 21-6 lead in the first eight minutes and 24 seconds and then were never seriously tested as the Grizzlies snapped a 7-game slide with a convincing 77-59 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the Colorado State University-Pueblo ThunderWolves on Thursday night in Plachy Hall. The Grizzlies, now 6-10 overall and 4-5 in conference play, had four players in double figures, including junior forward Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.), who had a game-high 21 points.
The ThunderWolves and coach Patrick Eberhart, ASC’s single-season and career 3-point record holder, were led by 14 Brian Wood points but fell to 6-10 overall and to 2-6 in the loop.
Moniak was a solid 9 of 13 shooting and led the Grizzlies to an impressive 55.8 percent (29-52) effort as a team. Hitting 9 of their first 10 shots, ASC went on a 13-2 run to take a 15-point lead on two of Greg Baker’s (Lewisville, Texas) 13 points. Baker was 6 of 9 from the field.
Fellow Lewisville High School and North Lake Junior College transfer Rajshad Anderson (Lewisville, Texas) was 4 of 6 from the field and 3 of 5 from beyond the arc en-route to a career-high 13 points. Wes Jensen (Mollala, Ore.), who had a game-high nine rebounds, rounded out ASC’s double-figure quartet with 10 points.
“We were well prepared for the game. We had a great scouting report and we were able to play tough defense inside and not allow their big guy to have the type of game he’s used to,” Moniak said about ASC’s effort which held 6-foot-8, 235-pound Steve Raquet to four points and four rebounds, both well below his 12.9 point and 12.3 RMAC-leading rebounding per game averages.
As impressive as the Grizzlies were offensively, they were just as solid on the defensive end. They held the ThunderWolves to a 40.0 percent (22 of 55) shooting effort and out-rebounded them 34-28 overall and 23-15 on the defensive end.
Running a patient attack, the Grizzlies had assists on 21 of their 29 field goals. Anderson led the way with a career-high five, all in the first half.
Never taking the lead, CSU-P managed only a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to eight with 6:32 left in the period but would get no closer as the Grizzlies went into the locker room with a 36-24 cushion.
“We put together a solid first half on offense and defense. I thought we did a good job of defending inside and limiting Raquet to touches and shots inside,” ASC Coach Larry Mortensen said. “People who don’t know about him don’t realize just how good a player he is.”
ASC started the second half in similar fashion as Anderson, Baker and Moniak all hit shots in the first 1:45 of the period as the Grizzlies went up 43-29. The Pack would not get any closer than a dozen down the rest of the way.
That was because the Grizzlies kept converting on their patient offense, hitting 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) of their second half shots from the floor. Meanwhile, CSU-P was just 12 of 29 (41.4 percent) in the second stanza.
“I couldn’t be more pleased about the way we played defensively and were able to play good basketball in the second half,” Mortensen said.
The Grizzlies had a 39-24 advantage in points in the paint and committed just a dozen turnovers, one fewer than the ThunderWolves.
Moniak’s effort was just two points shy of his career-high set Tuesday in a double-overtime thriller against Fort Lewis. Anderson’s tally was one more than his previous career-high, set Tuesday.
“Rajshad is coming along just fine,” Mortensen said about Anderson, who came into the week averaging 3.3 points per game. “He finally was able to get in the flow of things on the court and he needed to do that.”
CSU-P has won just one game in the last five visits into Plachy Hall. Thursday night was Eberhart’s first at the helm of the Steel City program.
The win was the 99th of Mortensen’s career. The Grizzlies will attempt to give him No. 100 on Monday night at 7 p.m. against Johnson & Wales (Colo.) University. The Wildcats are 0-21 on the season.
ASC then goes out on a 4-game road stretch beginning on Jan. 27 at Mesa State.