Midweek tilt with Cowboys set for Tuesday

Midweek tilt with Cowboys set for Tuesday

PUEBLO, Colo. (December 5, 2016) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team continues Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play with a road contest at New Mexico Highlands University, Tuesday at 7 p.m. The contest will wrap a five-game road trip for the ThunderWolves.

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Last Time Out: The Pack owned a second half, 18-point lead at No. 20 Fort Lewis College, Friday in the RMAC opener, but couldn't hang on for the victory, as they fell, 105-97 in overtime.

The ThunderWolves led 58-40 with 16:18 remaining in the second half, but the Skyhawks battled back and took their first lead of the game with 4:56 left. The home team posted a 36-17 run during that 11 minute span to open a 76-75 advantage.

After trading buckets down the stretch, the Pack's lead was four with 30 seconds remaining and the scoreboard reading 87-83, following two junior Will Newman free throws. FLC came down and forced a foul with 20 seconds left. Joshua Blaylock hit the back end of two free throws and the two teams were separated by three points. A poor turnover by the ThunderWolves in the Skyhawks' offensive end gave them the ball back and they were fouled again with 11 ticks left. This time, Blaylock hit both of his free throws and the contest was a one-point affair at 87-86. The Pack successfully in-bounded the ball and Newman was fouled with 10 seconds remaining. A 90 percent free throw shooter entering the game, Newman missed his first and made his second to push the score to 88-86. With just two seconds left, FLC scored on a layup and sent the game to overtime.

Fort Lewis used the momentum of the comeback to run away with the extra period 16-8 to post the eight-point victory.

The ThunderWolves shot 64.3 percent from the field in the first half to open a 45-31 lead on the nationally-ranked Skyhawks. In the end, the Pack shot at a 55 percent clip, while FLC hit on 45.3 percent of its shots. The telling stat was Fort Lewis' 16-6 advantage in offensive boards with turned into 21 points for the Skyhawks, while the six offensive rebounds for the ThunderWolves translated into just 10 points.

Fort Lewis knocked down three of its 11 3-pointers in the overtime session, while the ThunderWolves also hit on 11 from long range in the game.

Guards Newman and Rico Spikes led the Pack with 21 points each. Newman knocked down three 3-pointers to help his cause, while he also added five rebounds. Spikes posted a season-high with 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field (6-for-12). The team's leading rebounder added six boards.

The ThunderWolves were able to hold on for an 80-75 RMAC road victory at Adams State University, Saturday

The Pack closed the game by getting to the basket and playing tough defense on the Grizzlies. With the game tied 72-72 and the clock reading 2:36, the CSU-Pueblo guards took over, Newman scored six points down the stretch, which included a jumper that put the Pack ahead 74-72 . Spikes posted the other bucket in the ThunderWolves' 8-3 run in the final two and half minutes.

Junior Mark Williams earned his first start and posted 19 points, a team-high eight rebounds and added three blocks with two assists. Senior center Nelson Kahler went 8-for-10 (80%) from the field to record 19 points. He added four rebounds.

Newman totaled 12 points and a team-high four assists, while Spikes posted 11 points, seven rebounds and two assists.

The contest saw six lead changes and five ties, as the Pack built a lead as large as 13 in the first half before settling on a 40-31 lead at the half.

Sweet Shooting: The Pack are shooting 52.5 percent from the field this season, which leads the RMAC and sits seventh nationally. CSU-Pueblo has shot above the 50 percent mark in all games and 10 of the 14 halves this season.

Center Nelson Kahler's 68.5 percentage from the field is first in the league and 10th in NCAA Division II. Newman owns a 62.3 percentage and is third in the RMAC and 32nd nationally, while Williams owns a 58.5 percent mark to sit fifth in the conference and 69th in the nation.

Bench Play: The Pack have scored more points off the bench than their opponent in five of seven games this season.

Guards Leading the Way: The Pack's leading scorer is Mark Williams with 15.9 points per game (9th in the RMAC). He had come off the bench in the first five games before starting the last two. He is shooting 58.5 percent from the field and adds 5.3 rebounds per game. The leading rebounder is guide Rico Spikes, who has 5.8 rebounds per contest. Will Newman's 29 assists is a team best.

Block Party: Kahler finished first in the RMAC with 64 blocks last season, which ranked 22nd nationally. His 2.21 blocks per game was 21st. He owns 13 blocked shots this season to sit tied for the conference lead, while his 1.86 blocks per game is 48th nationally.

Long Range: The ThunderWolves finished 10th nationally last season with 11.0 3-pointers per game and hit on a 37.7 percentage (fourth in the RMAC). This season, the Pack have knocked down 8.6 3-pointers per contest, which is fourth in the RMAC and are shooting at a 39.2 percent clip (5th in RMAC).

Liggett leads the team with 22 daggers from downtown to rank fifth in the conference. He hit nine against Texas A&M Commerce Nov. 25 to fall one shy of the program record. The mark is the most in the RMAC this season and is tied for the second most in NCAA Division II in 2016-17.

Helping Hand: The Pack are fifth in the conference with 15.0 assists per game. Newman owns 4.1 helpers per contest to sit fifth in the RMAC.

Scouting New Mexico Highlands: The Cowboys are 2-4 overall and 0-2 in RMAC play after road losses at Adams State (85-72) and Fort Lewis (96-71) last weekend. The two wins for NMHU have come against former RMAC-foe, Western New Mexico. New Mexico Highlands are 1-0 at home, while Tuesday begins a six-game homestand for the Cowboys. NMHU is averaging 76.8 points per game, but are allowing 82.7 per contest. The team ranks third in the RMAC in steals with 7.3 per game. Marlon Johnson is the team's scoring leader with 14.2 points per game, he also adds a league-best 10 rebounds per game and has totaled nine blocks.

Last season the ThunderWolves split the season series with the Cowboys, as they lost in Las Vegas, 93-87 and won at home, 88-69.

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As a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, Colorado State University – Pueblo competes in 22 varsity sports in NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletics