The Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team ended its exhibition schedule on a high note Saturday, edging NAIA Montana Western 56-54 in Salt Lake City.
Alex Herrera paced the Skyhawks offensively. The 6-9 Ignacio High School product scored 14 points and pulled in 13 rebounds to help push FLC to victory, while Mike Matthews added 10 points. Marcus Ayala had seven points and seven boards.
Free throws, a bugaboo for the Skyhawks in recent years, helped FLC as the Bulldogs rallied by burying 3s and intentionally fouling. Despite hitting just 14 of 22 (63.6 percent) in the game, the Skyhawks hit seven of eight down the stretch to keep Montana Western at bay.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well, with FLC hitting at a 32-percent clip to just 30 for the Bulldogs. FLC forced 25 turnovers while losing 20 of its own, but the Skyhawks made their extra possessions count, racking up a 22-11 advantage in points off turnovers.
Thanks in large part to Herrera, FLC also enjoyed a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint.
After going 1-2 in the exhibition season, the Skyhawks finally can turn their attention to the regular season. They’ll open Nov. 15 at home against Northern New Mexico.