Pack battle, but mid-game slump proves costly in 85-81 loss at ASU

Pack battle, but mid-game slump proves costly in 85-81 loss at ASU

ALAMOSA, Colo. (February 2, 2018) – The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team trailed by 10 in the second half, then led by one with 55 seconds remaining, but suffered a 85-81 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road loss at Adams State University Friday.

The ThunderWolves (10-12, 7-9 RMAC) led by 13 at 35-22 with 4:10 remaining in the first half, but allowed the Grizzlies (12-10, 10-6 RMAC) to close the gap to just two at 40-38 with a 16-5 run to finish the opening 20 minutes.

The momentum carried over to the beginning of the second half where ASU scored the first eight points, moving the streak to a 24-5 run during six minutes of play.

Adams State maintained the lead and built an advantage as large as 10 at 75-65 with 5:26 remaining.

The Pack chipped away during the next four minutes of game clock and capped a 16-5 run of their own with a pair of free throws from Donovan Oldham (So., G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) to take an 81-80 lead with 55 seconds left. During the run, five different players scored and the ThunderWolves hit four 3-pointers with two of off the hands of senior Will Newman (G, Hawthorne, Calif.), who hit seven in the game.

CSU-Pueblo brought pressure on the inbounds pass, but would foul and allow ASU two freebies to regain the lead 82-81 with 53 seconds remaining. Looking to retake the lead, Newman drove to the basket, but a Grizzly stepped into the lane to take the charge and draw the offensive foul call. The Pack played solid defense on the other end and forced a deep 3-pointer attempt, but it dropped for the home team and with 10 seconds left the game was all but over at 85-81. CSU-Pueblo had one last desperation 3-pointer, but it wouldn't fall and the Pack took their second straight loss.

Newman's seven 3-pointers were a career high, while his previous career best was five, accomplished three times in his four seasons. The senior posted 25 points on 8-of-16 (50%) shooting from the field and a 7-for-12 (58.3%) effort from long range. He added eight assists with three rebounds and two steals in 39 minutes. Newman moved into 15th all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,183 career points.

Oldham finished with 19 points and he tied for a team-high with nine rebounds. Both senior Josh Smith (G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) and sophomore Jason Anderson (C, Colorado Springs, Colo.) recorded 10 points. Smith was 4-for-6 (66.7%) from the field and hit two 3-pointers, while Anderson gathered nine rebounds and totaled three blocks.

The ThunderWolves shot 43.1 percent from the field, while 15 of the team's 28 made buckets came from beyond the arc. The Pack shot a dismal 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from the free throw line, while ASU hit 17 from the charity stripe on 26 attempts (65.4%). CSU-Pueblo lost the rebounding battle 49-36 and was outscored 36-22 in the paint.

In the end there were seven lead changes and the game was tied on eight occasions.

The Pack will now turn their attention to No. 17 Fort Lewis College (18-3, 14-2 RMAC) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in Durango.

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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.