Grizzlies defeat Western State (2-20-10)

James Williams
The Paw Print

The Adams State College Grizzlies men’s basketball team continued their recently established winning ways on Saturday night at Plachy Hall, trouncing the arch rival Western State College Mountaineers 85-72 in a battle between the cellar dwellers of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Senior Eric Miller led the Grizzlies with a career-high 28 points while shooting 80 percent from the field and connecting on all 12 of his free throw attempts. True freshman forward Nick Fox and sophomore guard Robby Hanzlik both added 17 points.

The Grizzlies never trailed throughout the course of the game, and shot a season-high 63.6 percent from the field, breaking the previous high of 57.4 percent recorded on Friday night in the shocking upset victory over nationally ranked Mesa State.

The Mountaineers were led in scoring by three bench players, as none of their starters amassed double-figures in the scoring column, shooting a paltry 5-for-26 from the field. Sophomore guard Lachlan Kirwan contributed a team-high 16 points. Senior forward Dan Biber and freshman forward Tyler Miller had 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Miller’s second consecutive sold game from the charity stripe led the Grizzlies to an impressive 92.3 percent mark for the team. The Grizzlies missed only two free throws the whole game and those came in the final minute after 21 consecutive made free throws. The Grizzlies are now on pace to set an NCAA Division II era school record for team free throw percentage at .739.

This version of the rivalry was markedly different than the edition that took place on Feb. 5, when the Grizzlies couldn’t get on the scoreboard in Gunnison. This time around, the Grizzlies jumped out to an 8-0 lead en route to bringing the lead up to double-digits on a dunk by Miller at the 13:10 mark.

The Mountaineers were able to stay relatively close, chipping the lead down to six points on a couple of instances, but the Grizzlies continued their solid play on both ends of the floor to establish a 38-24 lead going into halftime.

Hanzlik was a major contributor to the Grizzlies’ solid play in the first half, playing the full 20 minutes and putting up nine points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field, and pulling down eight rebounds. Hanzlik finished the game with 10 rebounds to tally his second double-double of the season.

The Grizzlies shot 70.8 percent from the field in the first half, and cooled off in the second half with the game well in reach, knocking down a solid 55 percent while extending their lead to 21 points late in the second half before the Mountaineers closed in on the concluding score against the end of the Grizzlies’ bench.

The Grizzlies snapped a three game losing streak against the Mountaineers that spanned the last two seasons, and improved to 6-19 overall and 3-14 in the RMAC. They have won back-to-back games for the first time since opening the season 2-0.

The Mountaineers, who now sit alone at the bottom of the RMAC West Division standings, have lost five straight games overall and their last 10 consecutive road games while falling to 5-19 on the season with a 2-15 mark in the conference play.

The Grizzlies will remain at home for their final two games of the season this week, facing the Fort Lewis Skyhawks on Tuesday night and the Western New Mexico Mustangs on Thursday night. Tip-off for both games is slated for 8 p.m. is powered by WordPress µ | Spam prevention powered by Akismet