The Paw Print
ASU men’s basketball began their exhibition portion of the season last Friday night against the UNM Lobos in front of a crowd of over 13,000 fans. The Lobos are the first of three Division I Mountain West Conference teams that the Grizzlies will face in the coming month.
While the Grizzlies were ultimately unable to best the Lobos, they gave the highly favored Lobos a good run and exhibited a strong and promising start for the season.
The Grizzlies hit the ground running and managed to gain and maintain the lead for the majority of the first half. This lead was largely attributed to Shakir Smith who started the game at 4-4 from three-point land.
In an unfortunate turn of events the Lobos took the lead with 5:05 remaining in the first half with a layup from Devon Williams. The Lobos proceeded to expand their lead over the Grizzlies by 9 to end the first half.
An unlucky start to the second half saw an 8-0 run by the Lobos as the Grizzlies struggled to get a shot to fall. Finally after almost 5 minutes Smith was able to convert on a turnover by Lobo guard Hugh Greenwood and sunk another crucial three to get the Grizzlies into the second half.
The Grizzlies continued to battle through the second half but were unable to surmount the Lobo’s lead. While the Grizzlies shot better than the Lobos from the field, their inconsistency at the free throw line caused noticeable damage.
Smith was an asset to the Grizzlies throughout the game and was the leading scorer for both teams with 21 points in 34 minutes. The Grizzlies also saw strong performances from new comer Michael Middlebrooks with 16 rebounds, 9 blocks and 6 points, and senior Rodney Nelson who gave the Grizzlies 8 points and 4 assists from the bench.
Final Score was 50-62 Lobos.
The Grizzlies have their home opener Saturday night at 7:30 in Plachy against Northwest Christian University.