ThunderWolves suffer 81-76 setback to Cowboys

ThunderWolves suffer 81-76 setback to Cowboys

PUEBLO, Colo. (December 5, 2017) – The Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team suffered an 81-76 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference setback at the hands of New Mexico Highlands University at Massari Arena Tuesday.

The ThunderWolves (3-6, 0-3 RMAC) have lost three straight and now hit the road for three games to close the 2017 calendar year. The road swing starts Friday with a contest at Westminster College beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Pack were led by senior Will Newman (Hawthorne, Calif.), as he totaled 19 points, six rebounds and a game-best seven assists. He was 5-for-10 (50%) from the field, hit on 4-of-7 (57.1%) from long range and was 5-for-6 (83.3%) from the line.

Senior Mark Williams (Chino Hills, Calif.) was 8-for-11 (72.7%) from the field and recorded 17 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Senior Mika Nuolivirta (Vantaa, Uusimaa, Finland) contributed 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. Coming off the bench, BJ Hardy (R-Fr., G, Colorado Springs, Colo.) posted 13 points in 14 minutes.

The ThunderWolves shot 53.6 percent form the field in the first half, but were 38.7 percent in the second to finish at 45.8 percent. The Cowboys (6-3, 1-2 RMAC) shot a hot 68.2 percent in the final 20 minutes to finish at 57.1 percent in the game. The road team was also 11-for-18 (61.1%) from 3-point range. 

The teams were near even in most of the statistical categories, which included each pulling down 31 rebounds.

In the first half, the lead changed 11 times and the score was tied on four occasions. The ThunderWolves led 38-36 at the break behind 53.6 percent shooting from the field.

The second half was a back-and-forth battle until the Cowboys went on a run to open a 56-48 lead with 11:59 remaining in regulation.

The ThunderWolves responded with a 10-2 run during the next 2:30 of play to knot the contest for the eighth time in the game, 58-58. During the run, Williams totaled four points and Newman added three points and two assists. 

The run forced a NMHU timeout, which helped to settle the road team, as they came back from the break and recorded a 12-4 run to crack open an eight point advantage at 70-62 with 4:33 remaining.

CSU-Pueblo would make it a five-point game at 70-65 with 3:18 remaining, but 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by the Cowboys handed the road team their largest lead of the game at nine, 76-67, with 2:11 left.

The deficit was four at 76-72 with 1:10 on the game clock following a Newman 3-pointer, but the Pack couldn't take advantage of missed free throws by NMHU and would fall by five.

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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.