CSU-Pueblo hoops opens season with close OT loss

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska - CSU-Pueblo missed its opportunity to open up 2012-13 with a win Friday, watching an eight-point halftime lead melt away as it fell 90-86 in overtime to Alaska-Fairbanks.

CSU-Pueblo was dominant in the first half of its game with the Nanooks at the Alaska-Anchorage AT&T Jamboree, leading 39-31 at halftime, hitting six threes in the first half in opening up the lead.
But in the second half, Alaska-Fairbanks starting off on fire by embarking on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 43-43 just four minutes into the half.
From there, it was a back-and-forth dogfight.
Neither team opened up a lead larger than three points for the duration of regulation, and the Pack seemed to have the upper hand, jumping out 68-66 with 49 seconds remaining after a Jed Knafelc (Jr., Highlands Ranch, Colo.) layup.
But with 21 seconds left, Bryse Velasquez (Sr., Colorado Springs, Colo.) committed a foul that led to two free throws that tied the game at 68-68. CSU-Pueblo had a final chance, running a play to Arden Dennis (Sr., Denver, Colo.) who missed a layup attempt at the close of the half, sending the game to overtime.
In the overtime period, the Nanooks immediately seized momentum. Alaska-Fairbanks scored the first seven points of the overtime, jumping out 75-68, crippling the Pack and forcing them to play catch-up in limited time.
The ThunderWolves would get close, getting back-to-back threes from Wendell Lee (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) and J.J. Mina (Jr., Elk Valley, Calif.), to cut the lead to 77-76.
Forced to foul its way into another possession, Alaska-Fairbanks responded by going 3-for-4 down the stretch on free throw attempts, sending the Pack to defeat.
The ThunderWolves were led by Mina, who had a game-high 22 points to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.
CSU-Pueblo will wrap up its weekend at the AT&T Jamboree by playing the home team, Alaska-Anchorage, Saturday night.