|Posted January 10, 2009|
ThunderWolves power to win over Mines
PUEBLO - If there is one thing the ThunderWolves have lacked in 2008-09, it has been the ability to make big plays. Late in Saturday's game against Colorado Mines, with a come-from-behind loss starting the Pack square in the face, the big plays came.
First, ahead by a slim two-point lead with just one minute remaining, Roman Van Allen (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) came through with a huge steal, dumping it off to Jake Trahern (Sr., Kit Carson, Colo.) for an earth-shaking - and game-changing dunk.
Then, on the Orediggers' ensuing possession, Mario Balinton (Sr., San Francisco, Calif.) made a diving stab at a rebound, sliding on the ground and calling a heads-up time out, with 44 seconds remaining, all but securing victory and allowing the Pack to eventually hold on to a 67-63 win over Mines.
Balinton's play came in a game that was arguably the best of his career. Balinton scored seven, and was responsible for two three-point plays as well as a big steal with 3:58 remaining as the ThunderWolves were looking to climb back from a 58-53 disadvantage late in the game.
It was all part of a late 10-0 run that saw the ThunderWolves snatch victory from the jaws defeat - all coming after it seemed the ThunderWolves had squandered a sure win.
In the first half, the Pack was firing on all cylinders, shooting nearly 70 percent from the field at one point and leading by as much as 14 at one point. The Pack held a 38-32 lead at halftime.
But Mines opened the second half with a 13-7 run, and kept control of the game for much of the second half. The Pack was in a great deal of foul trouble, as Trahern and Rome Smith (Sr., Denver, Colo.), both of which scored over 20 on the night, found the bench at various times.
It was after Trahern committed his fourth foul with nearly five minutes remaining that the Pack seemed to echo some death rattles. Trahern left the game while the Pack was trailing by two, 54-52. Mines then went on a small 4-1 run, which was huge given the diminishing time.
With the threat of disqualification ignored by coach Pat Eberhart after Mines' mini-run, Trahern re-entered the game when the Pack was down by five, and the 10-0 run quickly commenced.
Smith led the ThunderWolves with 24 points, his fifth 20-plus game in six games, and Trahern's 20-point performance was his first such game of the season.
The ThunderWolves improve to 6-7 and 3-2 in RMAC play with the win. The ThunderWolves will now embark on a four-game road swing, taking on Metro State next Friday night in Denver.