|Posted November 8, 2008|
Pack stays competitive with Division I power Marquette
MILWAUKEE, Wisc. - CSU-Pueblo, taking on the highest-ranked Division I school it had ever faced in school history in Marquette Saturday, earned the right of being on the same floor as the 17th-ranked team in all the land, weathering an early Marquette run and staying competitive, only losing 94-73.
Marquette opened up the game with a 13-3 swing, but for all intents and purposes, CSU-Pueblo played the Golden Eagles relatively close for the remaining of the game, only being outscored 81-70 from that point forward.
The Pack did get as close as six away from Marquette after that early surge, and showed off a sign of things to come with great three-point shooting, going an impressive 7-for-16 from behind the arc in the first half, and 12-for-29 throughout the game, hitting 41 percent from downtown. Showing they can spread the ball around, the Pack got two three-balls from four different players, including leading scorer, Rome Smith (Sr., Denver, Colo.), who led the Pack with 14 points.
The ThunderWolves also got impressive performances from Imari Thomas (Jr., Compton, Calif.), who was solid at the post off the bench, scoring 13 points and taking down a team-high seven boards.
Overall, playing a team like Marquette competitively is as good as a win, and a sign of impressive things to come this season for the ThunderWolves, head coach Patrick Eberhart said.
"They were a little stronger than us, but we played right along with them," Eberhart said. "Imari [Thomas] played well, our guard play was really good, and I'm extremely proud of the effort we put up. It's really good for us."
The Pack's showdown with Marquette, lined up between Eberhart and Marquette coach Buzz Williams, who coached together at Colorado State University as assistants, put the ThunderWolves in an atmosphere they're unlikely to see for the remainder of the season. Marquette boasted 13,124 fans for the game, and the Pack adjusted well to heightened atmosphere, Eberhart said.
"It was really good for our kids," Eberhart said of the exhibition. "They're a big league school with big league stars, and it helps to prepare us for our season. It's a great first step to where we want to be."
The Pack will rest for two weeks before starting the season for real on Nov. 21 at the Al Kaly Classic at Massari Arena on the CSU-Pueblo campus.