The rally attempt ran out of gas.
The Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team’s opportunity to pay forward a huge comeback didn’t materialize after Adams State rallied to top the Skyhawks earlier this season in Durango.
No. 14 FLC cut what had been a 16-point lead to 71-66 with 1 minute, 10 seconds to go, but the Skyhawks would get no closer, falling to No. 23 Adams State 76-68 on Saturday in Alamosa.
What hurt the Skyhawks the most was their shooting. FLC (14-3, 11-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) hit just 23 of 67 field goal attempts for a paltry 34 percent shooting percentage. And a typically reliable weapon for FLC, the 3-pointer, wasn’t there, either, as the Skyhawks connected on just 7 of 29 attempts (24 percent).
“We had open looks. We had good shots,” FLC head coach Bob Hofman said. “We didn’t make them as we customarily do.”
Alex Herrera paced FLC with 16 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, while Marcus Ayala added 11 points and Nick Tomsick 10, although Tomsick hit just 4 of 16 field goal attempts.
“They were very physical with Alex all game long. ... They have a lot of big bodies to throw at him,” said Hofman, who rarely picks up technical fouls but was part of a weird ending where he picked up a second technical in the final minute as the game got chippy, earning a mandatory game ejection. A fan and a referee got in an altercation after the game, and the fan ended up in handcuffs.
Adams State, meanwhile, built the big lead and held off FLC behind a two-man show of Kaimyn Pruitt and John Jackson. Jackson scored 25 points, while Pruitt had 15 and 21 of the Grizzlies’ 43 rebounds.
Shaheed Young and Norvell Arnold chipped in 11 points apiece for the Grizzlies (14-3, 12-2 RMAC), who rallied from an 18-point hole to hand FLC its only home defeat of the year, 82-76 in early December.
The Skyhawks also were hurt by an uncharacteristic inability to get buckets off of assists. They had just 11 assists against 12 turnovers.
FLC will try and get back in the win column Friday at Western New Mexico in Silver City, N.M. The Skyhawks will play the next night at N.M. Highlands.