Archive for the ‘WNMU Basketball’ Category

Mustangs Conclude non-Conference Schedule

December 1st, 2014 No comments


The Mustangs will wrap up their non-conference schedule with their first home game of the season tonight, hosting #23 Angelo State University on Drag’s Court at 5 p.m. The Mustangs enter tonight’s contest 0-3 but had a strong outing against Eastern New Mexico last Saturday in the Pit; it was the first regular season game they have had all of their starters and their sixth man on the floor at the same time.

Angelo State entered play last weekend ranked #15 in the nation at 5-0 but split a pair of games in Grand Junction CO at the Colorado Mesa Thanksgiving Classic. Taking on a pair of RMAC members, Angelo State fell to the host team 70-67 but rebounded to defeat Western State Colorado University, 89-73. Their first five wins came against Oklahoma Panhandle, Texas A&M International, McMurry, Arkansas Tech and Oklahoma Wesleyan. Those teams are a combined 13-20, but ASU’s margin of victory is about 30 points a game.

ASU returns only 4 lettermen from last season’s squad including one starter. Omari Gudul is a 6-10 225 lb Jr forward who averaged 5 pts, 4 boards and 16 blocks. He’s now getting 8 pts a game, shooting at a 70% clip but still only pulling down 4 boards a game. Part of that might be that his team hits 53% of their shots but they are a tough defensive team holding opponents to only 33% of their attempts, 27% from downtown. He’ll still be a problem for the Mustangs given his size and ability to block shots.

Demario Mayfield is the leading scorer (15.6) and rebounder (5.6). He can shoot from all over and create off the dribble. He has taken the most attempts (46) and hits at a 54% clip; he will turn it over but can also play some solid up tempo defense as well. He might be a bit of a head case though; he was the GA high school player of the year and played at Georgia where he played in 18 games before transferring to UNC Charlotte where he averaged 11 points over two seasons along with about 7 boards. Now he’s in DII…

Chris Jones is one of two other players averaging double figures on points, (12.8). He will also penetrate and get short jumpers, hitting a lot of them, 60%. He’s only taken 6 three point shots and made 9 free throw attempts. He doesn’t like contact on the shot but will go in after the boards grabbing 4 a game. Like Mayfield he is at ASU for one season, transferring from Northern Texas where he was third all time in steals and sixth in assists. He set the freshman record in assists his first year at UNT and averaged 19 pts a game. That dropped the next two seasons to 9 & 8 pts respectively. He’s a quick point guard that doesn’t turn it over much, about once a game & leads the team with 17 steals.

Marsell Holden is another DI transfer, from Morehead State. He’s a 5-10 shooting guard who leads the team in 3 point attempts (31) and made 3 ptrs (10). He doesn’t do much else statistically for the team but shoot. He’s the outlet for Jones when he drives the paint and has to kick it out. At Morehead, he led the team with 73 three point shots made. Prior to that, he was a San Jacinto College where he was a JUCO All American and the TABC Player of the Year as he scored 20 points a game.

This team is pretty athletic and like ENMU scores a lot of points, 94 a game, while holding their opponents to just 60 a game. Again, against lesser talent but that’s what good teams are supposed to do, right? They will go deep into their bench as no one plays more than 24 minutes a game, only 4 players average over 20 minutes a game. They’ll try and push the tempo and wear down their opponents which will be a problem for WNMU.

Coach Law won’t be afraid of the up tempo style, he’ll only try to slow it down a bit. Once again watch for Western to work the ball inside to Marcos Castrillo but he’ll have the 6-10 Gudul to deal with inside; however, Gudul is not quick on his feet and Castrillo can put it on the floor against him; he’ll have to watch out for the help defense.

The Stangs will need some scoring from somewhere else, whether it’s one of the Brandon’s or Louckes on kick outs from Terrez Scott. Watch also for Gavin Wood to get some playing time and he’ll need to hit a few three point shots, along with Louckes, to pull the defense out of the paint and make room for Marcos and Scott.

We’ll have more on the Mustangs in the pre-game show at 4:30…

Mustangs rally falls short but team looked good

November 23rd, 2014 No comments


WNMU took on cross state ‘rival’ Eastern New Mexico in the Division II Classic held at the Pit in Albuquerque last night. It was supposed to be another small college showcase for the four small schools in NM but Highlands and Northern NM apparently didn’t want to participate so that left both men’s and women’s teams from WNMU & ENMU on the floor.

WNMU was coming off of a couple of unimpressive performances to start the season while Eastern was 2-2 with their losses coming last weekend against RMAC teams, CSU Pueblo and Ft. Lewis. ENMU is a high paced push the tempo team; think Loyola Marymount in the 80’s or any Paul Westphal coached team. They not only try to get lay ups but they also shoot the three in transition. Eastern had already taken 130 three point shots in 4 games, 23 a contest, while WNMU had taken a total of 23 three point shots in 2 games. Not many teams take 23 long shots in a game.

Coach Law wasn’t too worried about the fast pace, despite a shallow bench, believing that the Stangs only had to slow down the Greyhounds a little bit. Turned out he was right. WNMU took advantage of their opportunities on fast breaks throughout the night, especially early in the game as the guards for WNMU were hitting the boards hard, off of long rebounds especially, and WNMU was able to stay in the game.

Marcos Castrillo was unstoppable in the paint. Eastern didn’t have an answer for him in the post, low or high. Castrillo is able to hit the jump hook with both hands and has a soft touch facing the bucket. You can say he carried the team but it would be more accurate to say WNMU fed him the ball and dared Eastern to stop him.

Gavin Wood came off the bench to hit for 14 points, the only other Mustang in double figures. That’s what Coach wants from the freshman. Brandon Tanter and Brandon Williams each had solid games giving the Mustangs energy on both sides of the floor and you can see them getting more comfortable on the court after their red shirt seasons.

Having Terrez Scott back on the floor was also a big help as his presence, especially early, calmed the team down and gave them a sense of confidence. He was able to penetrate and dish or find others allowing them to score. When he went to the bench with foul trouble, the Brandons were able to keep things going, especially in the second half.

WNMU fell behind in the second half but was able to rally and had their chances late, but with 5 players fouling out, including Terrez and Steven Louckes, that left a line up in the game that hadn’t played a lot together. But Western was there to the end and Eastern hit their free throws late to hold off the Mustangs.

Louckes never really got going as he was in foul trouble early and Shea got points but not enough boards. He was pretty strong defensively though. The Mustang bench is very shallow and a couple of players seemed to be really nervous which led to turnovers and missed assignments defensively.

WNMU was able to rebound well and had a positive assist to turnover ratio for the first time this season. They hit 77% from the charity stripe which will help them win games that are close. Going to the high screen and roll in the second really opened things up for WNMU and sparked the rally that brought them back from 19 pts down.

It’s a loss and that’s not what we’re here for but WNMU seemed to play more as a unit and with an energy throughout the game that will make them competitive. The key now is to get the win in a close game and not just settle for being in the game. I know that Scott and Castrillo were not happy, despite having very good games. If Castrillo keeps playing with the confidence he showed last night, WNMU will win some games this year.

Mustangs at Orediggers

February 23rd, 2013 No comments

Coach Coleman said last weekend that getting to eleven wins in conference should get us into the playoffs; that allowed for a split on the road and while there are no easy games and getting a sweep was realistic, you had to expect WNMU could pull out the win last night at Christian. YOu also wanted to see Mines have a tough time against Highlands. Neither happened. So WNMU will have to turn around quickly and recover from a flat 2nd half performance, mostly defensively and on the boards to take on a Mines team that dominated NMHU and is flying high.

The last time these two teams met in Golden WNMU handed Mines their first loss of the season 97-93 and it was a wild and exciting affair. Chad had 24 points on the night, 16 in the second half as he only missed one shot. Earlier this season WNMU got the win over Mines in Silver City 77-66 essentially controling all aspects of the game. We didn’t win the rebounding battle but it was 41-39 so that is a wash. We had 19 assists to only 12 turnovers while limiting CSM to only 9 assists and forcing 15 turnovers to go along with 6 steals.

Juan Saurez led the way with 23 points, 9 assists against 5 turnovers; he got great dribble penetration hitting 6-12 overall and 9-10 from the free throw line. Brelan Berry was the recipient of several assists from Suarez as he was 6-10 for 13 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Te Branch added 12 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Chad had 11 points to go along with 8 boards. It was the kind of performance we thought we’d see more often offensively. We can certainly do it again tonight.

Mines is a different team; when they came to Silver they were early in the season and learning to play without one of their top players as he injured a knee just before the season started. They are scoring about 71 points a game while giving up 74 but their offense is somewhat inconsistent. They scored 90 last night but have been held in the low 60s or even in the 50s several times.

Trevor Wages is the force inside; the 6-9 Jr post player hits 54% of his shots scoring just under 16 a game and grabs 9.6 boards a game. He’s not very good from the line, 62% and doesn’t shoot outside. He only took 5 shots in the first game and got 5 points. Brelan, Chad, Darryl and Te all frustrated him and the guards dug down nicely keeping him from getting in a rhythm. But now he’s got 20 double/doubles on the season and he’ll be looking to get revenge.

The leading scorer for Mines is Luke Meisch, a 6-6 Jr F who likes to play facing the basket. He’s getting 17 a game shooting almost 50% and 40% from deep. He also grabs 8 boards a game and has picked up his scoring as the season goes on. He was 3-10 including 0-4 from downtown in the first game as WNMU frustrated him and kept him out of rhythm.

The third head of the scoring threat for the Orediggers is Brian Muller, 6-5 So G, is continuing to build on a solid freshman season getting 16 a game but only shoots 36% from the floor; 30% from downtown; he’ll put it up quickly and often. He was the big guy in the first contest with 22 points on 8-19 shooting. He can get hot from downtown but was only 3-10 in the first game.

Mines will play a bit slower but can push the ball off of a miss and will, like WNMU look for quick, easy baskets trying to put together runs that can kill the opponents and put games away early. They are long and athletic and a better team that what we saw in December but they are still inconsistent. However, they are at home where they are 10-2 so the Mustangs will have their work cut out for them.

Mustangs at Colorado Christian

February 22nd, 2013 No comments

When you looked at the schedule early this season and saw this game, you figured it would be a playoff contender, WNMU, versus a cellar dwellar; not much of a contest and you’d be thinking tomorrow night’s game at Mines would be much more important. Little did we know Christian would still be in playoff contention and Western is fighting for a playoff spot with any number of teams still in contention for the playoffs including Christian. AND Christian is playing as well as almost anyone in the RMAC right now.

Christian has won 6 of their last 9 games including an impressive road win over Adams State followed by wins at home over Colorado Mesa and Western State. But that also includes a loss to Chadron State albeit on the road. WNMU, despite the disappointing performance against Colorado Mesa at home last Saturday is similarly playing well at the right time. OVer the same period, the Mustangs are also 6 of 9 and have wins over FLC and ASU and a close loss to Highlands; but we have that dismal performance against Pueblo a forty point loss.

When these two teams met in Silver City on 12/1, the Stangs came out with a 72-63 win at a time when Christian was then 5-5, 0-2 in RMAC play and WNMU moved to 3-3 and 2-0 in the RMAC. Now CCU is 7-12 and the Mustangs are 9-10 in RMAC play. At the time WNMU’s defense was playing very well; in fact it was #1 in the RMAC; that’s changed a bit.

But back in the first game Western held CCU to just 29% from the floor; created 18 turnovers to go along with 10 steals but did get out rebounded 41-33 and we gave up 15 offensive boards. Kyle Weaver led the way in scoring with 21 points but was only 4-15 overall; he hit 12-12 from the charity stripe. Michael Weaver shot similarly poorly but hit 4 of 5 from the line to tally 14 points.

For the Stangs Chad got 19, Suarez 15, Brelan 10 and Te 9. The Stangs shot 44% from the field and moved the ball well. But as I said it was our defense that frustrated the shots put up by CCU; they were off balance, always challenged and the rotation was very good.

Both teams come into tonight’s game scoring about 70 pts a game while hitting about 41% of their shots; CCU is a bit better from downtown with a 35% succes rate to WNMU’s 33% but in both cases CCU has taken a lot more shots 200 more from inside the arc and 80 more from downtown. They’ve also gotten 110 more shots, roughly, than WNMU at the line. The play up tempo and get quick shots; they’ll look to push it up the floor which Western will like as well but they draw the fouls a bit better than we do.

Christian only gives up about 71 or 72 a game while WNMU is giving up 75 a game this year. Neither team is a good rebounding team as CCU is -.7 per game far better than Western’s -7.7 per game. You know what that means; we have to do a good job tonight with the rebounding.

Michael Brown, Kyle Weaver and Avery Redmond lead the way in scoring at 12, 12 and 11 a piece per game. That will put more pressure on the Mustang defense to play well. Christian is a tough, physical team similar to Colorado Mesa; which could give us trouble if we back down. It’s important to get off to a good start tonight and keep the pressure on both offensively and defensively.

More tonight in the tip off show…

Mustangs host Mavericks

February 16th, 2013 No comments

This is a game that has tons of playoff implications. Mesa and WNMU aren’t competing against each other for playoff positioning with Mesa in fourth place easily and WNMU in a tight battle for what could be any one of the final playoff positions in the bottom half of the bracket.

Colorado Mesa’s coach, Jim Heaps, hates this trip to the NM schools. Absolutely hates it and while I’m sure he tries to downplay the negative vibes, it does affect his team. They come in off a loss at NMHU last night 74-70 which dropped them out of second place. If things pan out the way WNMU hopes, winning out or even going 5 of 6 to close the season, these two teams could very well play each other in the first round of the RMAC playoffs. So mentally this game has a ton of importance.

In the first meeting WNMU almost pulled out the win in Grand Junction losing 58-57. Western was out rebounded in that game 42-28 including giving up 14 offensive boards leading to 17 second chance points. Now WNMU did get 8 offensive boards themselves leading to 13 points on put backs but we can’t let Mesa dominate the boards like that again. WNMU did not shoot well, 39% overall and only 4-17 from downtown but our defense was solid as Mesa shot 43% and only 3-10 from downtown. And they have the best three point shooter in the RMAC, Lance Vermeer but he was held to only three attempts making two but that’s how you stop him; he hits for 50% from downtown on the season.

Western only turned the ball over 11 times while creating 14 and getting 8 steals which kept the Mustangs in the game as the defense lead to 22 points. Mesa was dismal at the line, 9-18 on the night; Western only attempted 8 shots from the stripe hitting 7.

It was the Colton Burgon show, as usual, for Colorado Mesa. The six eight SR hit 9-15 and pulled down 12 boards. His 22 points lead the Mavericks as no one else was in double figure scoring. Three players had 8 points a piece. Burgon averages 15.5 points a game and is strictly an inside player; back to the basket but he can play off the dribble.

Jeff Hart, 6-4 190 Jr, also average 15 a game and like Burgon hits 52% of his shots. He will play facing the basket and can hit the jumper as well. He’s a 39% three point shooter. What’s interesting about Mesa, they don’t shoot many 3 point shots. Mike Melillo has taken the most with 66 while Hart has attempted 63 and Vermeer only 47. Most teams have at least one player with over 80 three point attempts.

So Mesa tries to beat you up the floor and get easy buckets; if it’s not there, they’ll pound it in to Burgon where he’ll look for a cutter when the shot isn’t there.

Mesa average about 72 points a game which is middle of the pack in the RMAC but is second in field goal percentage at 47%. They are fourth in three point shooting at 36% but next to last in free throw shooting at 66%. The Mavs are about even with their opponents in the rebounding category and are, along with WNMU dead last in offensive rebounds per game which is a bit surprising.

But WNMU will have to be careful on the boards, they can’t give up 17 offensive boards to this team and hope to win; even though we did that last night.

It’s always the same keys for WNMU; the big worry will be the mental approach of the Mustangs. We’ve seen them fall flat on the second night so many times; but the didn’t do it last weekend and despite a solid run by Western State last night, the Stangs were tough and repelled the charge. Maybe this is a different team we are seeing…

For WNMU Carter had 16 on 6-17 shooting while Luttrell added 10 on 4-8 from the floor. Suarez and Branch each had 8 points with Darryl adding 6. Again balanced scoring but not enough scoring.

Mustang set for rematch with Western State College of Colorado

February 15th, 2013 No comments

For the Mustangs every game left on the ever shortening schedule is important but tonight’s game against the Mountaineers of Western State College of Colorado looms just a bit larger as the two teams enter tonight’s action tied in the standings. The two teams are tied with Mines and Highlands for the 6-9 spots in the standings and have taken very different roads to this spot so far this season. WNMU did not get off to a good start in RMAC play and has been hurt by inconsistent play on the road, well poor play on the road to be exact.

WSC got off to a great start in conference play, 4-0 before dropping two on the road to Ft. Lewis and Adams State but bounced back with an impressive 30 point win over Mines and a win over Christian to get to 6-2 and a tie for second place. One of those early wins was over the Mustangs, 73-71, a game we really could have won. They then went on a 7 game losing streak that saw them get blown out of a couple of games, including 20+ point losses to Regis and Christian. But they only lost to Metro by 5 during that stretch. Now they are on a 2 game winning streak with wins at home over Chadron and Black Hills.

So why the Jekyl and Hyde performances; seems there has been some internal strife on the Mountaineers team with a couple of key players not seeing action at times. Terrence Boyd and Charles Joseph along with Steve Aldridge have been out for games and it appears that has cost WSC some consistency and potentially wins.

Let’s look back at the first meeting between these two teams on Dec. 8. This was back when WNMU’s defense was still the best in the RMAC and the Mustangs created 27 turnovers and got 10 steals leading to 22 points. We got hurt in a couple of areas; we were out rebounded by 10 which lead to 17 second chance points but the rebounding discrepancy was big in the first half and almost even in the second half. In fact, we got more offensive boards in the second half than did WSC; a half that we won 45-36 in scoring. WNMU got 19 from Chad, 18 from Te and 16 from Brelan but only 8 points from our bench and only 4 fast break points.

For WSC four players had double figure scoring as Terrence Boyd lead the way with 16 followed by Charles Joseph with 15 & 12 boards 4 of which were offensive, Travis Shepherd had 12 and Steve Aldridge had 10. Mike Vandahl came off the bench to score 9 as their bench outscored ours by 18-9. This was really the first game where a team shot well against the Mustangs, 51.9% overall and 50% from downtown. They were horrible from the line in the second half, 7-20, which helped the Mustangs come back and have a chance to win on the road.

Overall these two teams score about the same number of points per game, 72 for WSC 70 for the Mustangs; both give up 74 points a game. However, WSC is the best in the RMAC in opponent’s shooting percentage, only allowing teams to hit 39% of their shots overall while WNMU gives up about 45%. Western State packs the defense inside where they rely on the 6-8 300 lb Charles Joseph to clog up the middle and force awkward shots or force teams to start shooting from outside where percentages drop. They are fairly athletic and have long wingspans bothering opponent’s shots.

Offensively, the Mountaineers are 3rd best in the RMAC in shooting percentage, 46% overall and 34% from downtown which is 5th in the conference. What’s really surprising is they are hitting only 59% from the charity stripe. That’s unusual for a good shooting team. In rebounding neither team is very good, WNMU is still at the bottom, -7 per game while WSC is -2 per game. But here’s where Western New Mexico has a chance to win the game, offensive rebounding; WSC gives up a league worst 14 offensive boards per game. If we hustle, Te and Darryl especially will have a chance for some put back buckets.

The Mountaineers have 4 guys averaging double figure scoring; Boyd leads the way with 16 a game even though he has only played 16 games starting 7 and averages 22 minutes a game. Charles Joseph gets 13 a game as both he and Boyd get 7 boards a game. Joseph Charles adds 12 a game while Travis Shepherd chips in 11. Shepherd is their three point specialist taking 107 attempts from downtown on the season, 50 more than anyone but Mike Vandahl who’s taken 72. He hits 40% while Vandahl hits only 27%.

Boyd and Joseph are very good inside players both hitting over 53%, Joseph 59% on the season. But then again when you are 6-9 300 lbs, you just bull your way inside and lay it in; which he’s done against the Mustangs often in his career. The key will be to get him in foul trouble and on the bench. Also, the Stangs would like to push the tempo as much as possible and tire him out. If Juan and Te can move the ball up the floor quickly, Joseph is not a factor defensively.

While looking back it’s been mostly Boyd and Joseph leading the scoring and rebounding, this time like most others has players that can step up. Lately it’s been Joseph Charles, 5-11 G, who has been leading the way. He’s been the leading scorer for WSC in 3 of the last 5 games getting 39 against Mines, 20 against Metro and 24 against Chadron. Charles Joseph had 21 pts and 17 rebounds last Saturday against Black Hills so he’s back being a beast.

As usual, the Mustangs will have a tough assignment defensively. With so many players to pay attention to, they’ll have to play heads up on the defensive rotation. We’ve been doing well on that first rotation to the ball handler but it’s been that second rotation to the open man that’s hurt us. When we made the runs last weekend to take control of the game, it was in no small part due to the good defense that got to the open man and contested the shot.

Of course, rebounding will be a big part. Each and every game we’ve won, we’ve controlled the boards at some point in the game; we don’t win the battle often but we do get close and you can see it like clockwork, the rebounding battle swings our way along with good defense. That also leads to some fast break opportunities as there aren’t many players in the conference that can stay with Juan or Te on the fast break.

Chad will have to lead the way with his usual 16-20 points and if Te and Juan are getting dribble penetration they will chip in double figure scoring along with Lucio and potentially Andy from the perimeter. That back door cut will also open up for Lucio. Darrly will be huge on the boards and defensively against Joseph inside. He can’t push 300 lbs around but he can block the shots and get defensive rebounds, along with Chad and Te.

It’s going to be another good one or at least it shapes up that way. The Mustangs will have to avoid an emotionally flat start and get out early gaining confidence.

Mustangs host #14 Adams State

February 9th, 2013 No comments

There are potentially so many themes to the rematch between these two teams; the Mustangs wanting revenge after blowing a 20 point lead in the 2nd half; ASU angry after losing a tight one last night to Highlands; WNMU trying to avoid an emotional let down after a big win (see WNMU @ Pueblo last weekend). The simple message from Coach Coleman will be forget about last night, get focused and get ready for another tough, physical game and take care of business at home. The only thing I can imagine he’d say about the past is remember, we let one guy beat us in the second half; don’t let it happen again. OK maybe two things, we got up by 20 on this team on their home court, we can do it on our floor.

In the first matchup the Stangs played solidly hitting 42% overall and 40% from downtown. In the first half we went off hitting 50% and leading by 12 at the break. We then came out strong to start the 2nd stanza but fell off after about 5 minutes. We then shot only 32% overall and hit only 4-7 free throws. We got out rebounded by 14 (25-11) after coming close in the first half 21-18.

While ASU got some balanced scoring overall, it was one guy, John Jackson, who doomed the Mustangs. Jackson had a career high 26 points, 22 in the second half. He hit 10-12 free throws and 7-12 from the floor. He was just a monster that we didn’t have an answer for. Shaheed Young added 16; Norvell Arnold 14 and Kaimyn Pruitt 11. Pruitt had a double/double grabbing 13 boards.

That rebounding edge allowed ASU to get 16 second chance points and WNMU uncharacteristically turned the ball over 13 times leading to 18 points off of TOs for the Grizzlies. WNMU forced 16 turnovers getting 18 themselves but most of those came in the first half with a handful down the stretch after blowing the big lead.

After holding ASU to just 41% shooting in the first half, the Grizzlies hit 50% in the 2nd and then hit 17-19 from the charity stripe.

The key tonight is once again, get off to fast starts in both halves especially on the defensive end. Limit offensive rebounds for the Grizzlies and use the speed advantage we have at point guard to get up the floor aggressively but don’t force it. Delicate balance, true, but we saw the Stangs do it the first time. Then don’t wilt from the big moment.

Mustangs host Ft. Lewis

February 8th, 2013 No comments

The Mustangs host #20 Ft. Lewis College on Drag’s court looking to repeat what has become something of an odd pattern in Mustang/Skyhawk history. WNMU doesn’t play well at Durango; looking at 3 of the last 4 seasons WNMU has been trounced by Ft. Lewis losing by over 30 including an 86-47 drubbing this season. But in the game at Silver City, WNMU holds a 2-1 edge having one some very close games including a double OT victory 3 years ago. Coach Bob Hoff says the games in Silver have been some of the most exciting games he’s ever coached. Western hopes to continue that trend tonight.

Nothing really went well in the first game for the Mustangs. The Skyhawks got off to a quick start and while WNMU stayed with them for a while, cold shooting doomed WNMU’s chances. WNMU shot only 29% from the floor on the night and that includes a solid 35% from downtown but most of the made threes came in the second half when the teams were already playing just to finish and get home. Western was out rebounded by 23, 51-28. Officially FLC only had 7 boards on 11 offensive rebounds but I can tell you it was much more than that. Even the stats guys fell asleep.

Western did protect the ball well, only 11 turnovers and they hit 5-6 from the charity stripe in the first half. Nobody on the Stang roster scored in double figures; three guys had 8 points, Te, Andy & Nate while Darryl and Chad added 6. That’s balanced scoring, which we need but not exactly what Coach Coleman meant. And we did force 16 Skyhawk turnovers leading to 13 points. Not much to cheer about on the purple and gold sideline. Once again it was a game to forget and move on.

Ft Lewis is a good all around team, no surprise there. They score 77 a game, fifth in the conference, while giving up 67 a contest, third best in the RMAC. WNMU is giving up 75 while improving to almost 70 points a game themselves. FLC hits about 45% overall but is third best in three point shooting at 37% a game while WNMU is in the middle of the pack at 41% and 34% respectively. Western is still among the best in creating turnovers, 17 a game and that can help us tonight as it did, albeit minutely, in the first game. It’s rebounding that once again will be big this weekend. WNMU is improving but is still a minus 8 in that category while FLC is a plus 2. We’ve got to rebound well to have a chance.

Nick Tomsick and Alex Herrera lead the way against WNMU in the first game with 23 and 14 points a piece. Tomsick was huge from long range, 5-6 and 7-9 overall. Herrera is the conference leader in shooting percentage and was 6-12 with 13 boards for a double/double on the night. FLC host 52% overall and 48% from downtown led by this pair but with help from the rest of the roster everyone that played seemed to be on fire.

Tomsick and Herrera have been the leading scorers for FLC all season averaging 15 and 14 a piece. Marcus Ayala also gets about 13 a game so the Mustang defense has to be solid all around. Rotating over to help against Herrera inside while finding the open man to prevent the easy bucket. We’ve shown we can do it at times but not consistently game in and game out. There are players all over the Skyhawk roster that can jump up and bite you if you’re not careful, Weissl, Udall both play well inside and McKenzie is a 50% shooter from downtown but only takes about 3 a game. However he can be streaky just like our Andy Solich.

WNMU will get Darryl Littleton back on the roster and he’s raring to go. His defense inside and his rebounding and key buckets will be needed tonight. However Brelan may not be available. Chad Carter is feeling better but is still beat up and will likely see relatively limited action. He was key down the stretch once again at Pueblo hitting a couple of key shots and free throws even though he’d been held relatively quiet the rest of the game as Ryan took control.

It’s pretty simple for the Stangs, on paper that is; Juan and Te need to penetrate off the dribble, Lucio drives off the wing or baseline along with Chad for the dish; Andy and Ryan outside and off we go to the races. It’s getting down to crunch time and now is the time to get hot for the Mustangs. We’ve got tough teams facing us in the stretch run but we’ve got four in a row at home. We need the sweep; get it and we’re back in control of our destiny.

Oh my!!!

February 2nd, 2013 No comments

Once again the Mustangs were involved in a close road game coming down to the wire; but for the first time this season WNMU was able to pull out the road win against UC-Colorado Springs, 81-80. We said in the preview, someone would have to step up and Coach Coleman needed someone from the bench to play well and surprise, surprise, Ryan “Ollie” Crane poured in a season high 24 points on 8-10 shooting, 6-7 from downtown. Brelan Berry also had a solid game with 12 points in just 21 minutes of play and Andy added 13. Chad was off and still saw limited playing time getting 11 points. WNMU still turned the ball over too much, 18 times and was out rebounded by 7 but when it came down to crunch time, WNMU owned the boards in the second half. Torrid shooting didn’t hurt either; 54% overall and 53% from downtown overcame bad shooting from the charity stripe.

Things in the RMAC probably couldn’t have gone any better for WNMU last night either. Highlands pulled out a 3 point win at Pueblo, 89-86 while Mesa downed Mines in OT, 77-74 and Christian dominated Western State, 83-60. Talk about shaking up the standings, that’s an understatement.

Things stay the same in the top 4 positions as Metro won at Chadron, albeit by only 13 to remain undefeated. FLC and ASU were idle and Mesa remains a 1/2 game back in the loss column with their win. But now you have 3 teams tied for fifth with 7-7 records; Mines, Highlands and Pueblo. WNMU and Western State are next, tied for eighth at 6-8 followed one game back by Regis, who got the win at BHSU. Right now you’ve got 6 teams separated by only 2 games vying for the final 4 playoff spots.

Highlands will be at Springs tonight with WNMU at Pueblo and Western State at Mines. Regis makes the trip down the road to Chadron. Adams and FLC play tonight while Mesa goes to Christian so the top four spots will find either FLC or Adams likely slipping from second to fourth if Mesa gets a win but don’t count on that happening.

For WNMU we would ideally like Springs to beat Highlands. It’s really a wash between Mines and Western State as either team losing helps us but since we get WSC at home and have to play Mines on the road, let’s pull for WSC. Also let’s get Regis off our backs and root for Chadron to pull one out at home. But first, Western needs to continue riding high and get the win at Pueblo tonight.

Mustangs at Colorado Springs

February 1st, 2013 No comments

The Mustangs enter this weekend’s action on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. For the first time this season the Stangs are not in the top eight teams and they only have themselves to blame for that; not winning a conference road game yet this year. Four of those losses have come by a total of 9 points and a fifth one, Adams State, saw the Stangs blow a 20 point lead with 15 minutes to go in the game so we’ve definitely had our chances. A couple of hustle plays, one or two fewer mental errors or a basket made and the Stangs have 5 road wins and are battling for a home playoff game instead of trying to get into the playoffs.

Here’s the good side of the schedule for the Mustangs: of the remaining 9 games on the regular season schedule, 5 are at home. 3 of the 4 road games are against teams we beat at home. If we can get the sweep this weekend, even a split is OK, we then have 4 in a row at home albeit against tough teams but against teams we can and do beat when they come to Silver City.

Despite the fact that tonight’s opponent, UC-Colorado Springs, is 3-10 in the RMAC and should be an easy win, we can’t take anything for granted on the road much less against the Panthers, who got their first win of the season against the Stangs in Silver City. You can make a very strong argument that the win by UCCS in Silver City marked the downturn in the Mustangs’ season.

What was it that cost the Mustangs that win? Defense and rebounding. The Mustangs didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half, 34%, and only hit 1 of 7 three point attempts but they allowed a winless team to shot 58% in the first half. WNMU was down by nine at the break only because they hit 11 of 14 from the charity stripe outscoring Springs by 6 at the free throw line. WNMU was out rebounded 45-24 for the game. Western did create 23 turnovers while only giving it up 6 times themselves but most of those steals were in the 2nd half and despite that, Springs still shot 52% in the second stanza. Western hit 50% but it was too little, too late. Springs, believe it or not, is the top rebounding team in the RMAC at 40 per game; they hustle and crash the boards.

Five players from Springs hit for double figures lead by 6-4 Freshman Derrick White with 22 to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. White got a lot of points through penetrating off the dribble but showed he could also hit the mid range jumper as well. White is the top scoring freshman in the RMAC at 16 a game. He has been the team’s leading scorer in 13 of their 17 games.

Two players hit for better than 75% of their shots in the first meeting; Alex Welsh 6-7 Fr F, was 7-9, all of his shots coming inside. Jordan Carter, 6-7 Jr F, added 15 on 6-8 shooting getting a couple of offensive put backs. He did turn it over 6 times so the Mustang defense can bother him as he puts the ball on the floor in traffic.

Darius Pardner, 5-10 So G, had the second most points, 15 on 5-9 shooting. He hit a couple of big three point shots. He’ll run the point but doesn’t distribute the ball well garnering only 2 assists to 4 turnovers. You’d expect more assists when a team shoots over 50% for the game but that shows you the Panthers play a lot of one on one ball and don’t necessarily run sets that create assists; the assists they got, 17, came off of dishing the ball off when the Mustang defense rotated to help on the ball handler but didn’t get over on the open guy.

Alex Koehler, 6-2 So G, was the final player in double figures. Koehler was 3-5 from downtown ending the night with 11 points and a team high 7 boards. Essentially the Mustangs let a team that had only 2 guys averaging double figure points at the time put 5 guys in that category. We also let a young team get an emotional lift and play above their ability while the Stangs played down to the Panther’s level.

WNMU came close last weekend and missing Darryl Littleton, who will be back for tonight’s action, was tough but we saw something last week that we hadn’t seen before; that was a lineup on the floor that didn’t have a starter in it and they played well. Chad Carter and Brelan Berry are both banged up and didn’t play as much as usual and that may be the case again tonight, although I suspect Chad will play more than he did last week. But if we can get the production from Ryan, Chad A., Estevillo, Solich and Murdock that we got last week that will greatly improve our chances of winning tonight.

Both teams score in the high 60’s per game and give up 73 and 75 pts (WNMU-UCCS) per game so they are fairly well matched in all of those categories. While Western has improved the rebounding differential, it’s still -7 per game and Springs is +2.7 per game. We’ll say it again, we don’t have to win the rebounding battle but we’d better be close. Western is among the best in the RMAC at creating turnovers and turning them into points; we got 26 points off of turnovers last time and will need that kind of production tonight. Springs is not a great defensive team getting only 13 TOs a game. Both teams shoot the ball, whether inside or from downtown about the same; I think that means the game will rest on defensive rotation and rebounding even more than usual.

Chad should be able to get his 20+ points tonight but he’ll need help from Lucio and Juan. Te had a run in the Highlands game where he was more aggressive on offense as well looking for and making his shot. He and Juan can get inside off the dribble against the Panthers and that will spark the Mustang offense. It’s getting closer and closer to crunch time and the Stangs need this win tonight to keep some pressure from building. I’d say put the… nope I’m not going to say it, no predictions or kiss of death.