|Posted December 12, 2007|
ThunderWolves look to right the ship against CCU, Metro
After losing its first two conference games, the ThunderWolves
aren't in the best of positions. But this weekend provides a golden
opportunity for the Pack as two of the conference's toughest teams,
Colorado Christian and Metro State, come to town.
The ThunderWolves opened their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedule last weekend, but came out on the short end in two very close - and frustrating - losses. The ThunderWolves fell 67-63 to Regis Dec. 7 and were the victims of a late surge in a 72-65 overtime loss to UC-Colorado Springs Dec. 8. It was the third time in as many meetings that the ThunderWolves had seen its game with the Mountain Lions move to overtime, only to lose.
"We need to be closing out games better," coach Patrick Eberhart said. "Against Regis, we didn't make free throws down the stretch, and against UCCS, we committed five turnovers in the last five minutes when we were up by five. We can't continue to close out games that way, but if we had been able to do those things, we would have a different outlook right now.
With Colorado Christian coming to town Thursday (the Pack will be hosting the Cougars at Pueblo Central HS) and the Metro State Roadrunners hitting town Saturday at the Colorado State Fair Events Center, The Pack's 0-2 start in conference play will hopefully be remedied in a big way.
Both teams are tough, as the Cougars feature the RMAC preseason player of the year, Brian Stamer, and Metro State was considered the runaway favorite to take the conference following a 28-4 season last year. Both squads are hoping to get wins over CSU-Pueblo, which are in danger of falling off the RMAC radar following a 2-6 start.
Behind Stamer, the Cougars are showing that they are a team on the upswing in the RMAC. Christian has started out with two conference wins, and are quickly asserting themselves as a conference favorite.
"They will be tough guard, as they shoot the three very well," Eberhart said. "With Stamer on the inside, they are a threat there as well. We need to defend their shooters and try to keep Stamer out of the lane as much as possible."
Metro State, however, has been a head-scratcher this season. The Roadrunners already have more losses this season than last, starting 4-6 and 0-2 in conference play. But Metro is still Metro, Eberhart said, who hasn't lost a game to CSU-Pueblo since 1998, when "Southern Colorado" was emblazoned across the ThunderWolves' jerseys. The Roadrunners' nine-game winning streak over the Pack is the longest of the two schools' nearly 25-year-old series.
"They're like us," Eberhart said. "They need a win, and we need a win. It should make for a pretty good game."
The key to any ThunderWolves victory at this point in the season is more consistent play from the outside. Their post players, Chris Childress, Jake Trahern, and Brian Sewald, have lived up to expectations, combining for 21.3 boards and 24.9 points per game and a 51 percent field goal percentage. The rest of the team is shooting just a combined 36 percent from the field.
"Shooting is a touchy subject, and you can't talk about making and missing," Eberhart said. "All you can do is go back to the basics, get your feet set and shoot the ball when you're ready. More than anything, we need to shoot the ball with confidence and hope it drops into the hole for us."
Both games tip off at 8 p.m.