PUEBLO, Colo. (December 30, 2016) – Senior guard Rico Spikes' (Merriville, Ind.) bucket with 11 seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner, as the Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team snuck past Black Hills State University, 65-64, for its sixth straight victory.
The ThunderWolves improved to 8-4 overall and 6-1 in RMAC play with their sixth consecutive victory, which stands as the second longest under sixth-year head coach Ralph Turner. The Pack rattled off eight straight during the 2014-15 season.
CSU-Pueblo led for most the game and were ahead by 13 at 44-31 with 14:34 to play. BHSU ( 5-8, 2-5 RMAC) battled back and were within one at 53-52, a 21-9 run during seven minutes of play. The Yellow Jackets opened their first lead of the game with 2:52 showing on the game clock and the scoreboard reading 59-57.
The Pack trailed 64-61 with 1:31 left in regulation, but a senior center Nelson Kahler (Noosa Heads, Australia) layup with 1:14 remaining moved the game to a one-point affair. A stop on the defensive end set up the Spikes score, which came on an offensive rebound and put-back of his own shot.
BHSU moved the ball to half court and took a timeout with six ticks left to draw up the final shot. The ThunderWolves played stout defense in the final possession and forced an off balanced shot, which fell short to hand the home team the league win.
Spikes led the team with 16 points on 7-of-10 (70%) shooting with five rebounds and a team-high four assists. The senior is shooting 58.6 percent this season. Junior guard Josh Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) added 12 points on four 3-pointers, but more impressively gathered a team-best seven rebounds. He added three assists and two steals with a block. Smith leads the team with 34 3-pointers.
Senior forward Stevan Radakovic (Belgrade, Serbia) added three 3-pointers off the bench to help the Pack total 10 daggers from downtown. He compiled 11 points on 4-of-6 (66.7%) shooting. Kahler totaled 10 points (eight in the second half) on 5-for-6 (83.3%) shooting. He increased his conference lead in blocks with four and now has 32 on the season. Kahler entered the contest ranked eighth in NCAA Division II in blocks.
The Pack shot 46.6 percent from the field, just the second game this season under 50 percent. The ThunderWolves allowed Black Hills State to shoot 47.9 percent, which included a 53.3 percent effort in the second half. The performance was also the best by a Pack opponent in RMAC play this season. CSU-Pueblo attempted just five free throws (made only one), while BHSU was 10-for-12 (83.3%) from the charity stripe.
CSU-Pueblo led in assists (16-9), blocks (7-2) and steals (6-1).
Next up, the ThunderWolves return to the road for a pair of league outings at South Dakota School of Mines Jan. 6 before a rematch with Black Hills State Jan. 7.
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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