STEPHENVILLE, Texas (November 25, 2016) – A hustle play by senior Rico Spikes (Merriville, Ind.) secured a 79-78 upset of No. 7 Tarelton State University, Friday. The win comes almost a year to the date (Nov. 27, 2015) to the ThunderWolves defeating the then-No. 1 Texans on their home court.
The Pack (2-2) trailed 78-75 with 32 seconds remaining, but an old-fashioned three-point play by junior Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.) tied the game. With two ticks left, Tarelton State was forced to call a timeout. On the in-bounds play, Spikes stole the ball and was fouled in the process. With just one second remaining and the Pack in the bonus, the senior knocked down the first shot from the line to give the road team their first lead of the second half. It proved to be the only lead they needed, as the second free throw missed and time expired.
Newman scored seven of his 15 points in the final three minutes. He was 6-for-8 (75%) from the field and added a game-high six assists with three rebounds. Junior Mark Williams (Chino Hills, Calif.) came off the bench and led the team in both scoring with 25 points and rebounding with eight. He was 6-for-9 (66.7%) from the field and went 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the charity stripe.
Junior Josh Smith (Colorado Springs, Colo.) scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half and finished with four 3-pointers.
The Pack entered the game ranked 20th nationally in field goal percentage (52.3%) and were in true form Friday with a 51.1 percentage. The ThunderWolves held the undefeated Texans (3-1) to 45.9 percent.
CSU-Pueblo allowed 18 offensive rebounds, which led to 23 TSU points. The ThunderWolves were awarded six more free throws than the home team and made the best of it, as they went 26-for-33 (78.8%), while the Texans shot 16-of-27 (59.3%) from the line.
The Pack bench continued to perform well and totaled 37 points against TSU's 14.
CSU-Pueblo led 37-32 with 2:42 remaining in the first half, but the home team would finish the frame on a 7-1 run to hold the 39-38 lead at the break.
The Texans continued the run into the second half and held their largest lead of the game with 18:47 showing on the clock and the scoreboard reading 46-38. The Pack kept it within a two possession game the rest of the way. The score was 77-73 with under a minute to go when Newman hit a jumper with 46 seconds left. TSU hit one of two free throws on the other end to make it 78-75, which set up the exciting final 32 seconds.
Last season in Stephenville, the Pack beat the top-ranked Texans 87-84 in overtime.
The ThunderWolves will wrap the Tarelton State Thanksgiving Classic Saturday against Texas A&M Commerce (5-0) at 4 p.m. MST.
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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.