Photo Courtesy ASU Sports Information
ASU's John Jackson (3) scored 58 points over the 2-game weekend at Plachy Hall.
and ERIC R. FLORES
ALAMOSA— Led by 32 career points from John Jackson and a 20-point, 10-rebound effort from Norvell Arnold, the first of his career, the Adams State University men’s basketball team overcame a large deficit for the second straight night to post what ended up being a comfortable Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win in Plachy Hall, the 50th of Coach Louis Wilson’s brief two and a half-year stint at ASU.
This time, the Grizzlies defeated New Mexico Highlands University 92-77 on Saturday improving to 10-1 overall and to 9-0 in RMAC play setting up next Friday’s clash of the RMAC titans against undefeated Metro State (13-0, 9-0 RMAC) in Denver. ASU’s only loss came to Division I Colorado State, a team the Roadrunners lost to in exhibition play.
Both teams will certainly be nationally ranked as ASU came into the weekend ranked 18th while Metro State, which defeated Colorado Christian and Colorado Mines, was ranked second in Tuesday’s National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division II Coaches’ Poll.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies trailed by as many as 13 (23-10) after just 8:18 of play.
Trailing by that same margin exactly three minutes later on a NMHU trey by Dominick Baca, one of 12 the Cowboys would hit on the night, the Grizzlies then responded with a 17-5 run to pull within a single point.
Jackson, who had set an earlier career-high with 26 points in Friday’s win, scored the final seven points in that spurt and had 15 by halftime as the Grizzlies went into the break up 42-40 thanks to a Justin Kauffman trey on their final possession.
In addition to four lead changes, the game was also tied four times early in the period. However, the Grizzlies took the lead for good on two Shaheed Young free throws with 18:10 to go and later extended what was a 4-point lead (65-61) to double-figures with a 9-3 spurt that featured a 3-pointer by Christian Franklin.
The Grizzlies lead was never cut below six the rest of the way as the Grizzlies made an impressive 41 free throws on 50 attempts throughout the night, a solid 82.0 percent success rate. The Grizzlies’ 41 free throws are the most for any ASU squad in a single-game since 1992 (44, vs. Fort Lewis, Dec. 8).
Jackson, who scored 58 points in the weekend, was a large reason why. He went a perfect 15-for-15 from the stripe, finishing the weekend 25-for-27. Young, who had 13 points on the night, also did his part going 11-for-14 from the line in Saturday’s win.
Led by Arnold’s career-high 10 rebounds, the Grizzlies finished with a 43-31 edge over the Cowboys on the glass while grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, which resulted in 20 second-chance points.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies committed just 12 turnovers while claiming 13 steals.
The Cowboys were guilty of 21 turnovers, including eight by Mannie Cass alone. However, Cass had a strong 27-point effort as he drained six 3-pointers on just eight attempts from beyond the arc to lead the Cowboys.
The Cowboys shot 48.0 percent (12-25) from distance but were just 13-for-33 (39.4) from 2-point territory.
The Grizzlies were just 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) from the arc.
The Grizzlies are now a perfect 6-0 at home this season and are 4-0 at home against the Cowboys under Wilson, who has led the Grizzlies two back-to-back NCAA Division II Tournament appearances in his first two campaigns, is now 50-20 overall. The Grizzlies are 30-4 at home under Wilson.
Women defeat Cowgirls in doubleheader opener
ALAMOSA—A career-high 21-point performance by Grizzly junior Kelly Hernadez along with a 19-point show by sophomore Keyondra White helped the Adams State University women’s basketball team down the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls 77-70 here in Plachy Hall on Saturday night.
The Grizzlies, who shot a season-best 58.5 percent (24-41) from the field, improved their record to 5-8 overall and 2-7 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. The Cowgirls fell to 3-11 and 3-7 in RMAC play.
After allowing the visitors to jump out to a 4-point lead in the first three minutes, Adams State started playing as they went on an 18-3 run over the ensuing six minutes to take a 19-8 lead. Even though NMHU climbed their way back into the game and even closed the gap to just one point, 32-31, with 3:12 left in the opening half, Adams State did not trail for the rest of the game.
They did take a 35-31 lead into the halftime break.
Adams State scored nine straight points to open up the second half and continued to keep the pressure up to take the win.
In addition to the huge performances by Hernandez and White, junior Ann Pauly also had double-digit points with 11 total. Senior Marissa Peterson, who scored eight points in the contest, led the Grizzlies with six total rebounds.
As a team, Adams State gathered 33 boards, 28 defensive and five offensives.
Alyssa Lopez led the Cowgirls with 25 points including three 3-pointers.
“Hopefully this was not just a teaser and we will continue with this intensity and teamwork throughout the rest of the season” commented Adams State Head Women's Basketball Coach Kelly Kruger.