PUEBLO, Colo. (January 13, 2017) - The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team shot 75 percent through the first 11 minutes of its Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference battle with visiting Metro State University of Denver, Friday at Massari Arena. The ThunderWolves finished shooting 60 percent from the field and recorded an 89-70 victory.
The win improved the Pack's record to 10-5 overall and 8-2 in RMAC play to sit as one of three teams a top the league with two conference losses.
CSU-Pueblo shot 58.8 percent from long range, which included an 80 percent effort (4-of-5) in the first half. Both percentages from the field and 3-point land were season highs for the team. The ThunderWolves entered the contest 23rd nationally with a 50.1 percentage from the field. The effort also snapped a three game streak of shooting under 50 percent after starting the season with eight straight contests of 50 percent or better.
On the defensive end, the Pack held MSU Denver to 37.8 percent shooting from the field and just 28.6 percent from beyond the arc. CSU-Pueblo totaled eight blocks from five different players and added three steals.
Six players piled up nine or more points, guided by an 18-point effort by Will Newman (G, Hawthorne, Calif.). The junior shot 7-of-12 (58.3%) from the field and added seven assists with three steals and a block.
Junior guard Mark Williams (Chino Hills, Calif.) added 16 points (13 in the first half) on 6-of-10 (60%) shooting and totaled seven rebounds. Senior guard Rico Spikes (Merriville, Ind.) contributed 15 points, a team-high eight rebounds and two assists. Donovan Oldham (R-Fr., G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) chipped in 11 points off the bench and went 6-for-8 (75%) from the free throw line.
A Spikes layup with 8:55 left in the first half handed the home team their largest lead of the night at 11 with the score reading 28-17. The bucket also pushed the team's shooting percentage to 75.
The Roadrunners responded and were within five at 32-27 with 5:15 remaining in the opening frame, but the ThunderWolves would finish out on a 12-2 run to open a 15-point halftime advantage, 44-29. The Pack shot a cool 66.7 percent in the first 20 minutes and allowed their opponent to hit on just 33.3 percent.
CSU-Pueblo's lead reached 20 for the first time on senior Braydon Kuiper's (F, Wasilla, Alaska) third 3-pointer of the game. His dagger from downtown made it 57-37 with 14:40 left. The Pack advantage never dipped below 15 and reached as high as 27 before settling on the 19-point victory.
The win marked the 90th in CSU-Pueblo Head Coach Ralph Turner's six seasons as bench boss of the Pack.
Next the ThunderWolves will look to sweep the home weekend, as University of Colorado Colorado Springs visits Massari Arena for a 7:30 p.m. game. The contest serves as High School Night and all area middle and high school students (with ID) will be admitted for free.
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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