|Posted March 3, 2009|
Pack breaks Mesa curse, scores road playoff win
RMAC Quarterfinal: No. 5 CSU-Pueblo 64, No. 4 Mesa State 59
Call it an exorcism. The demons that have plagued the CSU-Pueblo men's basketball program died Tuesday, as the Pack undid nearly 20 years of futility in Grand Junction, and scored its first playoff win since 2000 when it knocked off Mesa State 64-59.
It was the second victory the Pack has posted over the Mavericks in as many games.
CSU-Pueblo, wearing the fifth seed in the RMAC playoffs, ignored two double-double efforts by Mesa State's Jase Herl and Jake Swartzendruber and rode the shot of a hot Marc Williams (Jr., Seattle, Wash.), who scored eight of his game-high 20 points during the ThunderWolves game-ending 12-3 run, sealing the Pack's win.
CSU-Pueblo's win was its first in Grand Junction since 1990 (15 meetings) and marks the first playoff win since 2000, when the ThunderWolves upset Chadron State en route to the RMAC semifinals. The Pack had lost its last four RMAC Tournament games, dating back to 2000.
The Pack held a slim 28-27 lead after the first half, but saw it disintegrate due to an 8-0 run to start the second half by Mesa State. But the Pack responded immediately, going on a 13-2 run to take a 6-point lead midway through the second half. The run was keyed by three threes, two by Williams and one by Roman Van Allen (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.), who scored 16 points and sank four threes.
After a Mesa State advance, the ThunderWolves once again rode the hand of Williams, taking the lead for good after Williams' three gave the Pack a 57-56 lead.
The Pack will take on top-seeded Metro State in the RMAC Semifinals, to be held at the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo. CSU-Pueblo fell by 10 earlier this season to the Roadrunners.