COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (GoThunderWolves.com - Jan. 5, 2013) - It might have taken a while, but CSU-Pueblo is finally getting the knack of the whole "comeback" and "closing out games" thing.
After beginning the season by getting stuck three times in unbelievable fashion in late comebacks and last second shots, the ThunderWolves did in their opponent with late heroics for the second straight game, spoiling UC-Colorado Springs' Inaugural Downtown Classic at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium with a 85-83 win.
Trailing 82-74 with 1:33 left and seemingly cashed in a game that had been all UCCS, CSU-Pueblo turned on the jets and made a staggering run to take over.
The run began on what amounted to a four-point play as Wendell Lee (Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.) got the and-one bucket, but missed the free throw, leading to a board by senior Ryan Arel (Sr., Shawnee, Kan.), which led to a bucket by Matt Rosenbaum (Jr., Sidney, Neb.), and suddenly, the ThunderWolves were trailing only 82-78 with 1:01 left.
On the ensuing inbound, UCCS turned the ball over, leading to a bucket by Arden Dennis (Sr., Denver, Colo.) that brought the ThunderWolves to within two, 82-80.
After a CSU-Pueblo foul sent the Mountain Lions' Derrick White, the game's leading scorer with 27 points, to the line, he hit one of two, leading to a huge play by Arel, who tied the game with an ice-cold three-pointer, part of his team high 24 points, with 51 seconds left.
With the score tied at 83-83, UCCS couldn't convert on its next possession, setting up what would amounted to the game-winner.
Running a play to point guard Nate Tigner (Jr., Fort Worth, Texas), the ThunderWolves ran a backdoor cut play, feeding Tigner down low who was fouled hard on the layup attempt, sending him to the line with just four seconds left.
Tigner, only a 53 percent free-throw shooter, turned a new page Saturday, sinking both free throws as he went 6-for-6 on charities, sealing the game.
The win helps the Pack climb into the upper half of the RMAC standings as well as secure points for CSU-Pueblo in the "Steel and Silver Series," the all-sports competition between CSU-Pueblo and UCCS.
"The Steel and Silver Series" awards four points to the school that wins the season series in each of the ten sports that the two schools share (men's soccer, women's soccer, women's cross country, volleyball, women's basketball, men's basketball, women's indoor track, women's outdoor track, softball and men's golf). After Saturday's wins by both basketball teams, CSU-Pueblo earns its first points in the season, trailling 16-4, after UCCS won the season series in each fall sport so far this year. The first school to reach 23 points wins the season's competition.
CSU-Pueblo, now 4-9 overall and 3-4 in RMAC play, will return home next weekend when it hosts Colorado Mesa Friday night.