By James Bartolo
A first-half lead slipped away from the Colorado State University-Pueblo Thunderwolf men’s basketball team last night, as the Adams State Grizzlies collected their second Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win.
In the first half, the Grizzlies shot 10 percent from the free-throw line, but hit 13-of-14 in the second half. The Grizzlies also shot over 54 percent from beyond the arc in the second half. “When a team is shooting like that, it’s frustrating; but we were still fighting and we just couldn’t get over the hump,” Thunderwolf center Jason Anderson said.
Adams State’s Davere Creighton and Isaiah Nelson each hit two 3-pointers in the second half. “You know, we had kind of clawed back into it and then at one point, we got within a point or a couple of points and they kept hitting threes in a row,” Anderson said. “It just felt at times like we were right there about finishing a big run or something like that.”
Thunderwolf head coach Ralph Turner said his team struggled defensively with guarding in transition and stopping penetration.
“I told them at halftime, at that time, it was fool’s gold to look up at the scoreboard and think we’re ahead,” Turner said. “They shot 1-for-10 from the free-throw line and we were C-minus and D-minus in the two areas that were singly your most important to play Adams. You’ve got to stop them in-transition and you have to not allow penetration.”
Offensively, the Thunderwolves were led by Donovan Oldham, who scored 27 points and dished out 4 assists. Despite Oldham’s high scoring night, the Thunderwolves shot 26.7 percent from 3-point range. “It can be a tough night, but I really think that in the end of the season, we’re going to be a really good 3-point shooting team,” Turner said.
According to Turner, the Thunderwolves 3-point shooting was hindered by poor passing. “We threw passes that hit them in the feet, where if we throw the pass up three feet, they’re catching and we’re making threes,” Turner said. “So, we’ve got to get a little bit more attention to detail, but I really think our guys have a great heart. I thought we had a great practice yesterday and I’m looking forward to seeing them in the morning in shootaround to see what we bring.”
After losses to both Adams State and New Mexico Highlands, the Thunderwolves are 0-2 against RMAC opponents. Tonight at 7:30, they face the Fort Lewis Skyhawks, another team looking for their first RMAC win, at Massari Arena.
The Skyhawks are coming off last night’s 104-69 loss to New Mexico Highlands. “They just got beat by 40 by Highlands, who beat us by 5, so they’re going to be hungry for a win,” Turner said. “We’re going to be hungry for a win. It’s going to be two junkyard dogs battling it out.
The Skyhawks are led in scoring by forward Marquel Beasley, who averages 16.5 points per game and 6.9 rebounds. Beasley’s offensive firepower is complemented by a pair of big men in 6-foot-9 Riley Farris and 6-foot-8 Otas Iyekekpolor, averaging 12.3 and 8.7 points respectively.