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Mustangs Struggle Against Fort Lewis Skyhawks

by Michael Rowse

The No. 25 ranked Fort Lewis College Skyhawks used a late first half run to propel them past the Western New Mexico University men’s basketball team, 86-47, Saturday night in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action.

Western New Mexico University (WNMU) countered an opening basket from Fort Lewis College (FLC) with a 4-0 run to take their first lead at 4-2 with Merle Branch hitting a jumper in the paint on the fastbreak.  The teams would tie several times over the first 10 minutes of the game, with WNMU (4-10, 3-7 RMAC) regaining the lead at the 7:33 mark on a three on the fastbreak from Andy Sohlich for a 17-16 lead.  FLC (11-1, 8-1 RMAC) answered with a 5-0 run for a 22-16 lead. After the Skyhawks went on another short 6-0 run, Juan Suarez stopped the run with a three to leave WNMU behind, 28-21, with under three minutes to go before halftime.

FLC then closed the half strong, going on an 11-4 run, with Daryl Littleton scoring all four points for the Mustangs leaving the Skyhawks ahead at halftime, 39-25.

The momentum carried over for FLC into the second half, as they opened on a 9-0 run over the first four minutes for a 48-25 advantage.  The Skyhawks would keep the lead in the 20’s before a three by Ryan Crane had the Mustangs within 18, 62-44, at the midway point of the half.  But, like other similar points in the game when WNMU appeared to be getting back into the game, the Skyhawks had the answer. They unleashed a 17-0 run to put the game out of reach with five minutes to play in the contest.

Branch, Nate Murdock and Sohlich all tied for the team lead in points with eight. Littleton led the team in rebounds with nine.  Nick Tomsick led FLC and all-scorers with 23, including five three-pointers.  FLC shot well from the field, making 51.8 percent (29-56) of their shots, while WNMU made 27.9 percent (17-61). FLC also held the advantage in three-pointers made (13-6) and free throws made (15-7).

WNMU will return home this coming Friday when they will host Black Hills State with game time set for 7:30 p.m. inside Drag’s Court.

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