|Posted December 16, 2011|
Knafelc terrific for Pack, hits game-winner
Game-winning three with 10 seconds left lifts ThunderWolves to victory.
PUEBLO, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Dec. 16, 2011) - Though it was only a split-second, the bounce off the back of the iron from the three-point attempt by CSU-Pueblo's Jed Knafelc (So., Highlands Ranch, Colo.) with ten seconds left in Friday's 70-68 win over Western New Mexico felt like an eternity, hinting at a miss before falling true and lifting CSU-Pueblo an improbable win over the Mustangs.
Western New Mexico, which committed 22 turnovers Friday, seemed to remedy the turnover bug by shooting lights out, hitting 51 percent from the field and riding that to a 67-62 lead with 50 seconds remaining.
But key Mustang mistakes down the stretch, as well as heads-up plays by the ThunderWolves, allowed CSU-Pueblo to snatch victory from sure defeat.
First, after a Bryse Velasquez (Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) bucket made it 67-64, a full court press by the Pack forced the Mustangs to turn the ball over, resulting in a feed from Kevin Coates (Sr., Annapolis, Md.) to Andre Martin (Sr., San Diego, Calif.) that made it a 67-66 ball game with 34 seconds left.
On the ensuing possession, the Mustangs' Lucio Luttrell could only make 1-of-2 on his free throw events, putting the Mustangs up 68-66.
Trailing by two, CSU-Pueblo had the option of driving for the tie or looking for a three. Putting the ball in the hands of Knafelc, arguably the best three-point shooter on the team, proved to be a good move, as he sank the bucket that sank the hearts of the Mustangs.
With just enough time left for one short possession, the Mustang attempt at the other end would be an air ball recovered by Coates who would be sent to shoot free throws with four seconds remaining in the game. Coates would split the free throws leaving a slight chance for a buzzer beater from the Mustangs.
But a botched play would all but end the game for the Mustangs as time ticked away without even attempting a shot.
The Pack saw three players finish in double digits, led by Martin, who finished with a team-high 12-points while corralling eight rebounds. Coates and Arden Dennis (Jr., Aurora, Colo.) each would finish with 11 and 12-points respectfully for the Pack.
Lattrell was most impressive for the Mustangs, finishing with a game high 18-points.