The Paw Print
For the first time since 2007 and just the second time in the school’s history, the Adams State men’s basketball team will be making a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.
The journey for this #6 seed team begins in Mankato, Minn., home to the Central Region’s #1 seed, Minnesota State University. Here, they will play a familiar foe in the Colorado School of Mines for their fourth matchup this season. Of the three previous games, the Orediggers won two. In their most recent meeting, Mines ended Adams State’s chances of winning the 2011 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament with a 69-62 finish over the Grizzlies.
As expected, the game was physical and not easily decided. The game began with Mines scoring the game’s first six points, but the Grizzlies quickly retaliated and closed the gap, which led to them taking a 14-13 lead, their first and only lead of the game. From then on, neither team let the other gain much separation, with the brief exception of the largest lead of the game achieved by the Orediggers which was 10 points. CSM played their usual aggressive role, but their discipline level in the second half was not as exhibited for most of the season. The Grizzlies were able to take advantage of Mines’ aggression by scoring 26 points from free throws.
The Orediggers made up for their reduced disciplined play with sound defense. They kept two of the Grizzlies’ top scorers, junior forward Marqus Richards and junior guard Deray Wilson, to seven and nine second half points, respectively. Overall, Richards led all scorers with 18 points and Wilson earned 14 points, which was the second most on the team. As a team, Adams State’s field goal percentage was just 30% as they successfully shot only 6 of their 20 attempts in the half. With about four minutes remaining in the game, CSM was able to hover around a seven point lead just long enough to escape the semifinals with a win.
The Orediggers received a special effort from the 6’6” junior forward Gordon Galloway. Galloway earned his third double-double of the season with a team-leading 16 points and 10 total rebounds, which tied Adams State forward Shayar Lee for the most of all rebounds.
After the win, Mines advanced to the RMAC Shootout Championship to face the Skyhawks of Fort Lewis College, a game which the Orediggers lost. The winner of the game between Adams State and Colorado School of Mines could potentially play the Central Region #2 seed FLC (22-7 overall), who plays #7 Mesa State (18-9) in the first round.
The Adams State College men’s basketball team has been selected to compete in the NCAA Division II National Tournament for the second time in school history. The Grizzlies have earned the sixth seed out of the Central Region and will face No. 3 seed Colorado Mines in the first round, Saturday at noon CST (11 a.m. Mountain Time) in Mankato, Minn.
The announcement was made Sunday night by the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Committee and announced on a live online webcast.
Minnesota State University will host the Central Regional portion of the tournament that will also include semifinal games next Sunday and the regional championship on Tuesday, Mar. 15. The winner of that game will join the other seven regional winners at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight to be played Mar. 23, 24 & 26 Springfield, Mass.
The Grizzlies, who set an NCAA Division II era (1992-93/Present) school record by winning 20 games this season had been ranked ninth in last week’s Central Regional rankings but defeated then eighth-ranked New Mexico Highlands in the quarterfinal round of last week’s RMAC Shootout.
The Orediggers are currently 24-5. They won the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s regular season championship with an 18-4 RMAC mark.
The Grizzlies last qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2007, a year that also saw them go to Minnesota. There, in Winona, the Grizzlies played RMAC rival Metro State.
Other first round match-ups will include the host and top-seeded Mavericks (24-4) taking on No. 8 Winona State (20-9), which won three straight games in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament to earn that league’s automatic berth in the national field of 64. Winona State, which hosted the 2007 regional, was not included in the top 10 of last week’s regional rankings.
Mary (N.D.) (23-5) earned the fourth seed from the region and will face fifth-seeded Metro State (21-7) in another regional quarterfinal.
Meanwhile, the winner of the Grizzly and Oredigger clash will face the winner of a first round game between No. 2 seed Fort Lewis (22-7) and No. 7 seed Mesa State (18-9). Fort Lewis, which came into the week rated sixth in the region, avenged two regular season setbacks to Mesa State with a RMAC Shootout quarterfinal win before knocking off Metro State in the semifinal round.
Mesa State had been ranked fifth in the region coming into the week and help give the RMAC five teams in the regional, including all four on the Grizzlies’ half of the 8-team bracket.
The Central Region first round begins for Adams and Mines Saturday, March 12 at 12 p.m. CT (11 p.m. MT). Tickets are on sale now; $15 for reserved seating, $10 for general admission adults, and $5 for ages 5-17, senior citizens, and college students with a valid I.D.