|Posted December 12, 2008|
ThunderWolves get past Kearney
PUEBLO, Colo. -- Rome Smith (Sr., Denver, Colo.) scored 24 points and Jake Trahern (Sr., Kit Carson, Colo.) broke out in style at Massari Arena on Friday as the CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves men’s basketball team scooted past the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers 75-69 in the RMAC opener for both teams. The men raised their record to 3-5 with the victory.
The ThunderWolves shot 48 percent from the floor in what was a sometimes spotty but overall impressive outing. Marc Williams (RJr., Seattle, Wash.) started the game off with something of a good omen by nailing back to back three-pointers after going one for his first 19 three-point tries this season. Williams helped the men take an early 10-8 lead, and then Smith hit back to back three-pointers to put his team up 18-11.
The Lopers pulled back into the lead after a string of three-pointers by Max Froehlich, who finished with 17 points, but an impressive dunk in traffic by Trahern helped the ThunderWolves cut back to 21-24 at 4:46.
A four-point play by Smith at 3:23 kept the ThunderWolves in touch, and Roman Van Allen (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) tied things up at 31 with a slashing drive in the paint.
The men pulled back in front with some help from five Loper turnovers, which the Pack converted into seven points. Smith’s four-point play was also a part of a run the ThunderWolves made at the end of the half in which the team scored 17 points on its final nine possessions.
The second half found the men in similar form, and Trahern opened play back up with a pair of ferocious slam dunks to give the Pack a 40-33 lead. The lead ballooned to 48-35 after a three by Smith before the Lopers regrouped.
Kearney was constantly troubled by Van Allen’s dribble penetration, and the talented swingman scored six straight points in the second half before finishing with 11 overall. However, the Lopers tightened down on defense and had a good stretch in closing stages of the game.
The Kearney men cut the lead to 64-68 with a pair of three pointers by Drake Beranek and Jeremy Cruise, and it was the play of Beranek, who finished with 29 points, that was most influential.
Kearney crashed the boards with zest especially in the second half, and out-rebounded CSU-Pueblo 40 to 27. The Lopers also scored 14 points off of 16 offensive rebounds in the second half alone. That advantage, coupled with Beraek’s 11 rebounds, helped the Lopers close the deficit and set up a tense finale.
The ThunderWolves went back inside to Trahern for two crucial scores in the paint inside the last five minutes, and Smith drained a pair of free throws to give the Pack its final advantage. Trahern finished with a season-high 18 points and seven rebounds, and was a constant force in the middle.
Van Allen was called for a five
second violation with under a minute left in the game, handing
possession back to the Lopers, but Kearney was called for an
offensive foul and gave the ball right back to the Pack, allowing
the men to play keep-away for the duration of the game.