Baker, Moniak lead high-powered Grizzlies over NMHU
ALAMOSA, Colo.ó Adams State Collegeís Greg Baker (Lewisville, Texas) and Roman Moniak (Sacramento, Calif.) combined for 51 points as the Grizzlies outlasted a tenacious, physical and athletic New Mexico Highlands University squad to post a key 88-73 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the Cowboys on Friday night in Plachy Hall. Baker, a 6-foot-4 senior guard, scored a career-high 28 points, thanks in large part to a 12 of 14 effort from the charity stripe, while Moniak, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, led the inside game with 23 points, just two shy of a career-high, on a 9 of 14 shooting effort from the field.
Bakerís Lewisville High School and North Lake Junior College teammate Rajshad Anderson (Lewisville, Texas) also matched a career high by scoring 13 points before fouling out with 8:59 to go. ASC junior wing Wes Jensen (Molalla, Ore.) was also in double-figures with 12 points.
The Cowboys were paced by a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double effort by Robert Franklin, one of the RMACís best overall players. Tim Thompson added 17 points off the bench. The tandem combined for 18 tallies from the charity stripe in a hard-fought physical game that featured 53 total fouls and 70 free throw attempts.
In addition to Anderson, the Grizzlies had four players finish the game with four fouls. Franklin and Thompson each fouled out for the Cowboys in the late going.
With the win, their fourth in five games, the Grizzlies moved to 9-11 overall and to an even 6-6 in RMAC play, two full games ahead of the Cowboys, now 8-11 overall and 4-8 in conference action.
The Grizzlies overcame a slow start in the shooting category by forcing 20 Cowboy turnovers, including 15 in the first half alone. The Grizzlies converted those first-half miscues into 17 points and led 37-31 at the break.
ASC, which committed just 10 total turnovers, was down by as many as six but used a 7-0 run to take a 22-19 lead. Franklin then scored four straight points to put the Cowboys up 23-22 before a Baker jumper triggered a 13-3 Grizzly run that put ASC up 35-26.
The Cowboys put up quite a fight for most of the second half, pulling to within four on a Donald Gray jumper to begin the half. ASC would go on to build a 12-point lead on Anderson, Baker and Jensen 3-pointers in three straight possessions before NMHU sliced the deficit to 56-50 on a Franklin layup at the 13:45 mark.
Again, the Grizzlies had an answer as they built the lead to 12 on two Baker free throws before a tenacious Cowboy press forced some Grizzly mistakes. Thompson then hit a 3-pointer allowing NMHU to close within 70-66 with just under five minutes to go.
The Grizzlies then worked the inside game and scored six straight points off of pretty Baker, Larry Charles, Jr. (Tucson, Ariz.) and Marcus Mortensen (Cortez, Colo.) assists before the Cowboys finally succumbed when Baker grabbed a missed Franklin free throw. Baker then through the ball down to Charles, Jr., who scored an open layup and converted on the ensuing 3-point play after a hard foul, Thompsonís fourth, with 2:30 to go.
Up 80-69 at that point, the Grizzlies converted some easy layups and free throw attempts to go up by as many as 18 in the final minute.
The Grizzlies shot a solid 59.3 percent (16-for-27) from the field in the second half and finished with a 44.3 percent (27-for-61) shooting effort. They were also an impressive and season-best 83.9 percent (26-for-31) from the free throw line. Baker was 12 of 14 alone while Charles, Jr., Jensen and Moniak were a combined 13 of 15.
The Cowboys shot 44.9 percent (22-for-49) from the field throughout the night and were 25 of 39 (64.1 percent) from the free throw line.
Both teams fared well on the offensive glass, combining for 33 offensive rebounds and 42 second chance points.
The 88 points were a season-high and the most that ASC has put up since a 93-68 win over the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs Mountain Lions on Feb. 19, 2005.
The Grizzlies, now in even better position in the RMAC Tournament chase, will continue their 4-game homestand Saturday night at 8 oíclock against the Mountain Lions (2-18, 1-11 RMAC), who were drubbed by RMAC West Division leading Fort Lewis, 114-76, on Friday night in Durango. The Skyhawks scored 68 second half points to blow what was 15-point game at halftime wide open.
NMHU will travel to Durango to meet Fort Lewis (13-6, 9-3 RMAC), Saturday.
All of ASCís games can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.