|Posted January 22, 2008|
Hot start propels Pack to win over Adams
PUEBLO, Colo. - When the scoreboard read
"ThunderWolves 27, Adams State Grizzlies 10" midway through the
first half, nobody seemed to believe it - not even the Pack
players. Though the Grizzlies, who came in with a 12-5 mark,
eventually caught back up to the ThunderWolves to make it a game,
the Pack eventually bought in to the fact that they were beating
the Grizzlies up and down the court and held on to turn in a 73-68
After that hot start, the Grizzlies did go on a run to make in interesting, closing the gap to 35-27 by halftime, setting up a fiery second half that saw the Grizzlies shoot themselves in the foot on multiple occasions when they were getting close to overtaking the lead.
As the ThunderWolves led 63-49 with 5:39 remaining, the Grizzlies went on a run that defied convention. Adams State committed two technicals, the first on coach Mark Murdock and then another on an intentional foul by Sean Amos, the kept them from getting close to the Pack.
Unfazed, they went on an 8-1 run to close the gap to seven, then made a late charge to trim the lead to three with just 46 seconds remaining, relying largely on turnovers created by a full-court press.
But the ThunderWolves were able to play ball control, eventually sealing the game when Brian Sewald took down a big offensive board with six second left, drawing an immediate foul that sent Rome Smith to the line to secure the win.
The Pack's win was a complete team effort - five ThunderWolves scored in double figures, and three of those five - Sewald, Chris Childress and Jake Trahern, each took down more than seven rebounds, allowing the Pack to dominate the inside post game. Their tough play countered a game that was quite ugly, for all intents and purposes, as both teams to committ 47 fouls and 26 turnovers.
"We play ugly," Pack coach Patrick Eberhart admitted. "But when it gets close, we have confidence that we can get the job done."
The ThunderWolves used a similar blueprint that allowed them to get two conference wins during last weekend's road trip to New Mexico - come out with all guns blazing. The Pack got an early lead in those two wins over Western New Mexico and New Mexico Highlands, and did the same against a very tough Adams State team. The trick, Eberhart said, is learning to play with the lead.
"We haven't been in the lead much, and we need to figure out how to play to protect the lead," Eberhart said. "But we came out excited and played with a lot of passion, and we're just playing very good team basketball right now."
The ThunderWolves do find themselves in the midst of the RMAC Western Division race. The win, their third straight, improves their conference mark to 4-6 and 7-10 overall. They are just two games behind Adams State for second place in the Western Division.
The Pack will look to make it four straight Thursday when Western State comes to town.