PUEBLO, Colo. (February 5, 2018) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team (10-13, 7-10 RMAC) caps a three-game Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference road trip Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m., in a nearly must-win game at New Mexico Highlands University (13-10, 8-9 RMAC) to keep postseason hopes in reach.
The ThunderWolves are tied for 10th in the league standings at 7-10, but are just one game out of the final spot in the RMAC Shootout. There are six teams battling for the seventh and eight seeds in the tournament.
Last Time Out
The ThunderWolves led by 13 during the first half, trailed by 10 in the second half, then led by one with 55 seconds remaining, but suffered a 85-81 RMAC road loss at Adams State Friday.
CSU-Pueblo led by 13 at 35-22 with 4:10 remaining in the first half, but allowed the Grizzlies 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 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 Will Newman, who hit seven in the game.
The ThunderWolves couldn't close in the final minutes to take the four-point 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.
Saturday, the Pack suffered a 95-61 loss to No. 17 Fort Lewis.
The ThunderWolves were ahead 5-3 in the first two minutes of the game, but would fall behind the Skyhawks 27-8 with 11:20 left in the first half. The 24-3 run would set the tone for the game, as the Pack suffered their third straight loss.
Fort Lewis shot 63.3 percent in the first half and 60.3 percent in the game, while the road team produced a 35.0 percentage from the field. Both teams hit eight 3-pointers, but FLC knocked down 57.1 percent to the Pack's 34.8 percent. Sixteen ThunderWolves turnovers led to 21 points for the Skyhawks. No Pack player recorded more than nine points.
The Cowboys are 13-10 overall and 8-9 in RMAC play. NMHU has lost four of its last six games. New Mexico Highlands has the fifth best scoring margin in the league at +3.4, as it averages 77.4 points and allows 74.0 points per game. The Cowboys rank 2nd in the conference in 3-point field goal defense, as they allow their opponent to shoot at a 34.5 percent clip. Jacob Holland leads five players scoring in double figures with 15.4 points per game. Chris Lewis adds 11.2 points and an RMAC-best 9.1 rebounds per game. Jordan Jones has a team-high 46 3-pointers this season and averages 11.0 points per contest.
Last Time vs the Cowboys
The ThunderWolves lost to the Cowboys 81-76 in December at Massari Arena in a back-and-forth battle. The lead changed 12 times and the score was tied on another eight occasions, as NMHU closed out the Pack behind 57.1 percent shooting from the field and 61.1 percent from long range. Will Newman finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Mark Williams totaled 17 points and Mika Nuolivirta added 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.
The ThunderWolves rank 1st in the RMAC and 27th nationally in 3-pointers per game with 10.1 per contest. The 233 daggers from downtown rank 1st in the conference and 22nd in Division II. CSU-Pueblo has attempted 618 3-pointers this season, which is the second most in the league and 22nd in Division II. CSU-Pueblo owns a 37.7 percentage from beyond the arc to rank 8th in the RMAC.
Thanks for the Charity
Senior Will Newman has made 105 and attempted 123 free throws this season to rank 5th and 7th, respectfully, in the RMAC this season. His 85.4 percentage from the line is 6th in the conference.
The ThunderWolves average 11.7 turnovers per game, which is the 4th lowest in the RMAC.
I'll Take That
The ThunderWolves ranks third in the conference in steals per game with 6.4 and are fourth in the RMAC with 148 total steals. With 1.7 steals per game senior Will Newman ranks 3rd in the RMAC. The 38 total takeaways is 4th. Senior Josh Smith adds 31 steals (8th in the RMAC) for 1.4 steals per game that sits sixth in the conference.
With 4.0 blocks per game, the Pack sit 5th in the RMAC, while the 92 total blocks is 5th in the league. Senior Mika Nuolivirta has 30 blocks to rank 4th in the conference (1.4 bpg is 3rd in the RMAC).
Leading the Way
Senior Will Newman is 7th in the league in scoring with 16.6 points per game. He sits 3rd in the conference (23rd nationally) with 127 assists. His 5.5 assists per game is 3rd in the league and 31st in Division II. The senior's 1.9 assist/turnover ratio is 7th best in the league. His 35:26 minutes per game is 2nd in the conference.
Sophomore Jason Anderson has the team lead with 6.5 rebounds per game, which would rank 11th in the league if he met the minimum requirements.
Senior Mark Williams, senior Mika Nuolivirta and Anderson are all shooting above 51 percent. Williams owns a 59.8 percentage, while Nuolivirta is shooting 52.5 percent and Anderson is at 51.3 percent from the field. None of them meet the minimum requirement (Min FGM/G of 5.0) to be listed in the rankings.
RMAC Players of the Week
In his first weekend of competition at CSU-Pueblo, Jason Anderson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned RMAC Offensive Player of the Week honors Dec. 18. The transfer averaged 26.0 points per game and 8.0 rebounds to lead the Pack to wins over Western State and Colorado Mesa University. Anderson sank 76.7 percent from the field (23-for-30), was 2-of-3 (66.7%) from long range and hit on 4-of-6 (66.7%) from the free throw line. Anderson scored 52 total points and brought down 16 rebounds in just 50 minutes (25 mpg) of work.
Senior Will Newman earned his first-career RMAC Defensive Player of the Week award Nov. 27 after a strong performance against UCCS. He totaled 25 points and eight rebounds, seven defensive. He knocked down 9-of-11 from the field and a pair of 3-pointers, going a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. The senior added a blocked shot, steal and five assists.
Newman reaches 1,000 Career Points; Climbing the All-Time Charts in Points, Assists and Free Throw Percentage
Senior Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.) became the 22nd student-athlete in program history to score 1,000 career points at CSU-Pueblo when he dropped 14 points against Western State Colorado University. Newman is 15th all-time at CSU-Pueblo with 1,186 career points. He will need to average 8.8 points per game in the final five guaranteed games this season to crack the all-time top 10 list.
Newman's 390 career assists ranks fifth all-time. He is 53 assists shy of the record of 443, held by Tony White (1977-80).
Newman owns a 80.1 percentage at the free throw line in his career to rank second all-time at CSU-Pueblo He is 285-of-356 in four seasons.
Head Coach Ralph Turner earned win number 100 as the CSU-Pueblo bench boss with an 84-65 home win against Rogers State to start the season Nov. 10. As the CSU-Pueblo head coach, he owns an 107-82 (.566) record in seven seasons. He owns the third most wins in ThunderWolves men's basketball history. The Dec. 30, 2016 win against Black Hills State was the 450th in his storied men's basketball collegiate head coaching career that spans 22 seasons.
The ThunderWolves are struggling at home this season with a 5-8 record, but under seventh-year Pack Head Coach Ralph Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 57-36 (.613) record at Massari Arena.
1,000 Career Points Watch
Senior Josh Smith has collected 949 career points, just 51 shy of the 1,000 point milestone. Smith will need to average 10.2 points per game in the remaining guaranteed five games to achieve this record.
With 225 career 3-pointers made, Smith ranks sixth all-time at CSU-Pueblo. His 3.2 3-pointers made per game ranks second all-time.
His 149 career steals is sixth all-time.
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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.