Cowboys overcome late Grizzly spurt to take fifth straight
Las Vegas, N.M.— The Adams State College Grizzlies used a 12-0 run in which they hit five straight field goals and three straight free throws to turn an 8-point deficit into a 69-65 lead only to go cold down the stretch as the New Mexico Highlands University Cowboys squeaked out a 73-69 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win over the visitors on Saturday night in the John A. Wilson Complex. The Cowboys, now 8-13 overall and 6-7 in conference play, claimed their fifth straight win when Jeremy Soria scored the game-winning layup with just eight seconds remaining before Soria iced the win with three more free throws after two technical fouls were whistled on ASC.
Chris Crevelone had a game-high 12 rebounds to help lead ASC in a heartbreaking 73-69 loss to New Mexico Highlands on Saturday night.
The Grizzlies, who had won their last two games, dropped to 2-19 overall and to 2-11 in the RMAC.
Soria, a 5-foot-10 guard, finished night with 14 points while junior wingman Robert Franklin paced the Cowboys with 17 points and 11 rebounds, recording his fifth straight double-double. The 6-foot-5, Philadelphia, Pa. native scored nine of his points on 14 attempts from the charity stripe as the Cowboys were a solid 30 of 42 (71.4 percent) from the foul line. ASC went to the line just 15 times, making 10.
The Grizzlies were making the most of their limited free throw opportunities making nine of their first ten second-half opportunities before Larry Charles and Greg Baker each missed the front end of 1-and-1 opportunities in the final 1:05.
The Cowboys took full advantage as Anthony Fuller closed ASC's lead to 69-66 with the first of two free throws with 58 seconds left. Soria then had two key offensive rebounds before drawing David Mitchell's fifth foul with 44 seconds to go. He then tied the game with two free throws before Baker and the Grizzlies missed a chance at retaking the lead. It was Soria that game up big once again, as he scored the game-winning bucket off of a Franklin assist before the Grizzlies committed one of their season-low 12 turnovers, ending their hopes of a second straight road win
Mitchell was limited to just seven minutes of playing time in the second half after picking up his fourth foul with 17:33 to go, but still managed to scored a game-high 18 points on a fine 8 of 10 shooting effort. Baker picked up the slack and scored 10 of his 17 points in the second half, five of which came in ASC's comeback from eight points down.
Trailing 63-55 with with 6:32 left after a Franklin layup, the Grizzlies cut the gap to just one with a Chris Crevelone free throw, a David Hull dunk, and Mitchell and Baker jumpers spread around a Baker steal. Crevelone, who had a game-high 12 rebounds, then grabbed a Franklin miss before Charles gave the Grizzlies a 64-63 lead with 4:08 to go.
Baker then drilled one of his two 3-pointers to give ASC a 67-63 lead.
After two Tim Thompson free throws cut ASC's lead in half, Baker again answered with a jumper. However, those were the final points that ASC would score as the Grizzlies went scoreless over the last two minutes.
The Cowboys, who went a perfect 5-0 in their homestand, shot just 24.0 percent (6-25) from the field in the second half but took advantage of 20 successful free throws and all eight of their offensive rebounds, which turned into seven key second chance points. The Cowboys were 19 of 47 (40.4 percent) from the field overall. ASC was 27 of 60 (45.0 percent) overall but went to the free throw line 27 fewer times.
The Grizzlies will continue their 4-game road swing next weekend at Mesa State College and Western State College before returning home for the final four games of the season, starting on Feb. 18 against the Cowboys. All of ASC's games can be heard on KSPK-FM (103.5 in Alamosa) and via the internet at www.kspk.com.