#4 Roadrunners eclipse century mark in win over Grizzlies
Denver— The Metro State College Roadrunners, ranked fourth in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Bulletin Top 25, shot 72.0 percent (18-25) from the field in the first half to build a 52-29 lead and then cruised to a 102-68 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the visiting Adams State College Grizzlies on Saturday night at the Auraria Events Center. The Roadrunners, who advanced to the National Semifinals in March, are now 7-0 overall and 2-0 in RMAC play thus far in the young 2004-05 season. The Grizzlies slipped to 0-8 overall and 0-2 in league action.
Not slowing much in the second half, the Roadrunners finished the night with a 66.7 percent shooting effort and drilled 61.1 percent (11-18) attempts from behind the arc. The Roadrunners also took advantage of 28 Grizzly turnovers, 19 of which came in the first half, to score 42 points.
Senior center Ben Ortner, a 6-foot-9, Innsbruck, Austria native, was 11 of 13 from the field and scored a game-high 26 points to lead the effort. Junior guard Greg Muth hit four three pointers and finished with 16 points and a rare double-double after dishing out 10 assists. Senior guard Keith Borgan and senior forward Mark Worthington were also in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
ASC was led by sophomore shooting guard David Hull, who drilled a trio of 3-pointers while scoring a team-high 18 points. The Belen, N.M. native was in the starting lineup for the first time this season after missing the first six games with nagging back injuries. He had scored two points in nine minutes of action off the bench in Friday night's game at Regis University.
David Mitchell, a 6-foot-8 senior forward from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was also in double figures with 14 points, 11 of which came in the first half. He also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds, six on the offensive end, and helped the Grizzlies to a commanding 17-6 edge on the offensive glass.
Also claiming a 29-18 edge in total rebounds, the Grizzlies were simply overmatched by MSC's hot shooting and the ensuing lack of rebound opportunities. The Roadrunners hit 10 of their first 12 shots from the floor, four of which were from 3-point land, and built a 29-9 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
Redshirt freshman Larry Charles, who had 10 points on the night, then hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Grizzlies closed to within 12 on a Greg Baker jumper. Picking up a double-technical along with MSC's Michael Bahl, Baker and the Grizzlies stayed within 15 for several minutes before a 12-2 Roadrunner run over the last 3:07 of the the first half gave MSC a comfortable 52-29 cushion.
The Roadrunners scored 28 points off of ASC turnovers in that stanza while ASC came up empty after five Roadrunner turnovers.
Held to five points on a 2-for-5 first half shooting effort, Hull got hot in the second period hitting 5 of 8, including all three of his treys. However, Ortner, Muth and Borgan were just as steady for MSC, combining for 27 second half points on 11 field goals before sitting out for much of the late going.
The Roadrunner bench, led by nine Dustin Ballard points, did nothing to disappoint as the Roadrunners hit the century mark with a Ryon Nickle layup with 5:08 left. Trailing by a game-high 46 at that point, the Grizzlies closed the final gap with a 14-2 run.
The Grizzlies, who have played their last six games away from Plachy Hall, will now return home for two pre-holiday clashes with Colorado Christian University and Colorado School of Mines. Hosting the CCU Cougars on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 8 p.m., ASC will then take on the Orediggers at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 20. Both games can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.