First-half lull leads to second-half surge

A bit of a first-half lull got the Skyhawks’ attention.

And after halftime, they put the pieces together just fine.

The No. 17 Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team outscored Regis 43-21 in the second half en route to a 74-52 victory Friday in Denver, FLC’s seventh consecutive win.

Defense led to easier offense, particularly after halftime, as the Skyhawks (12-1, 9-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) forced 16 Regis turnovers, scoring 25 points, more than a third of their total, on the Rangers’ miscues.

Add in better ball movement after intermission, and it was a recipe for FLC success.

“Mainly the defense that got us a rhythm on offense,” said FLC head coach Bob Hofman, back in his first game since an abbreviated medical leave. “We did a better job swinging the ball in the second half, and shots are easier when you get more touches.”

The first half was a bit of a struggle for FLC, caused in large part by struggles at the free throw line. The Skyhawks connected on just 5 of 12 attempts and just 2 of 8 from 3-point range. They rallied to hit 12 of 18 attempts from the charity stripe in the second half.

“We missed a lot of free throws in the first half, so it’s really hard to get into a rhythm when you miss so many free throws,” Hofman said.

Marcus Ayala led the way for the Skyhawks with 15 points and 10 rebounds, taking some of the rebounding pressure off center Alex Herrera, who had 11 points. Mike Matthews scored 10.

FLC will face unbeaten No. 2 Metro State, an 88-71 winner over No. 13 Adams State on Friday, tonight.

“It’ll be a great litmus test for us to test ourselves against the best team in the country,” Hofman said.