Sports

CSU-Pueblo misses chance to advance in quarterfinal debacle

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Jeb Knafelc flying in for a basket, to add to his career-high of 27 points. Photo courtesy of Tyler Shomaker
Jed Knafelc flying in for a basket, to add to his career-high of 27 points. Photo courtesy of Tyler Shomaker

The Colorado Mesa Mavericks defeated the Thundewolves, 74-65, in the RMAC Quarterfinals, on March 5, officially ending the Thunderwolves’ season.

The Thunderwolves were out rebounded 40-28 for the game, yet managed to get twice the amount of steals, at 14-7, but could not capitalize on the second chance opportunities.

Jed Knafelc came off the bench to lead the team in scoring, with 27 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

“I saw the way the game was going and I didn’t want it to go down like that,” Knafelc said. “Players who usually hit their shots were missing them and I felt like I should take some initiative.”

The beginning of the game looked ugly for the men’s basketball team, as Colorado Mesa had a 22-11 lead with five minutes remaining in the first half. But the Thunderwolves went on a 15-4 run, to get within two points at the half.

The Thunderwolves managed to get a 29-28 lead three minutes into the second half, but that was short lived. From that point, Colorado Mesa then went on a 20-2 run, which gave them a 48-31 lead, with a little more than 10 minutes to play in the game, putting the game out of reach for the Thunderwolves.

“The team had heart and played hard, but they couldn’t make their shots,” coach Ralph Turner said. “This last part of the season was a good try by my men, but it was a sad finish to what I thought was a great season.”

Ryan Arel jumps to the basket for points to add tothe Thunderwolves' score. Photo courtesy of Tyler Shomaker.
Ryan Arel jumps to the basket for points to add tothe Thunderwolves’ score. Photo courtesy of Tyler Shomaker.

“It was a great season, considering that we came back to where we are now after a 2-9 start,” Turner said. “I’m really proud of them and how they were able to stick together to finish the season so well.”

Colton Burgon and Jeff Hart, for the Colorado Mesa Mavericks, both did the most damage against the Thunderwolves on Tuesday night. Burgon scored 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting and Hart scored 20 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

In addition, Colorado Mesa shot the ball very well, making 54 percent of its shots, while the Thunderwolves shot for 30 percent.

For next year, Turner the Thunderwolves will be returning only one of their top three scorers from a team that went 14-8 in RMAC play.