|Posted December 15, 2007|
Vast improvement, solid effort little solace in loss to Metro
PUEBLO, Colo. - After Thursday's 31-point loss to Colorado
Christian, the ThunderWolves were a beaten and battered team
searching for answers after suffering their third straight
Saturday, the Pack made a 180, improving every facet of the game - except the score - falling short 81-74 in a hard-fought loss to Metro State.
The game was tied on 11 occasions, and the ThunderWolves never let the Roadrunners get more than a 10-point advantage, staying within five or leading for a bulk of the game.
Rome Smith caught fire in a big way, sinking 11-of-16 shots for a game-high 27 points, one off of his career high, while Jake Trahern was three boards away from a double-double, scoring 14 points and serving as a rock in the middle.
All combined, the Pack shot a more-than-respectable 50 percent from the field, and had quite a few occasions when momentum, and occasionally a lead, were firmly in their grasp.
One of those moments occurred when junior Mario Balinton, coming off the bench, roused the crowd with a drive to the baseline for an awesome dunk, posterizing Metro's 6-foot-7 forward Daniel Bass, getting the foul to boot. Trailing 48-45 at the time, the Pack used the momentum to go on a 7-3 run and take a 55-54 lead with eight minutes remaining.
Even when all seemed lost, trailing by 10 with 1:26 remaining, the Pack rallied, getting back-to-back threes by Daniel Pierce and Jordan Surratt, to get within four, 78-74, with 21 seconds remaining. But Metro, repeatedly forced to the line, kept sinking free throws, part of the 22 charity buckets throughout the game, that kept CSU-Pueblo from making a wild comeback.
Even with all that, it was still a loss. And losses don't feel good, Pack coach Patrick Eberhart said.
"We were able to do some good things and play extremely well as a team tonight," Eberhart said. "But the guys have a hard time hearing that after they've lost. All we could do is go and get the next one and continue to get better."
The Pack's next one is Wednesday night at the Colorado State Fair Events Center against UC-Colorado Springs in a non-conference showdown. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.