FLC picks up a ‘character win’

Skyhawks win their first game in Las Vegas, Nev., in five years

The trip to New Mexico isn’t often kind to Fort Lewis College men’s basketball.

But the Skyhawks wrote a friendlier finish Saturday.

A day after a disheartening loss at Western New Mexico, No. 20 FLC led by 13 at the half and held off New Mexico Highlands 83-74 on Saturday in Las Vegas, N.M., its first win there in exactly five years.

“It was a real gut-check victory for us having to go on the road, having our heart broken (Friday) night,” FLC associate head coach Bob Pietrack said.

“This trip has been unbelievably tough for us. It’s good to salvage the trip with a win.”

Alex Herrera and Nick Tomsick provided the offensive firepower for the Skyhawks (15-4, 12-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). Herrera had 22 points and six rebounds, while Tomsick was 10 of 10 from the free throw line en route to 20 points.

FLC also outrebounded the Cowboys (10-11, 8-9 RMAC) 41-24, helping the Skyhawks overcome 18 turnovers.

Further helping matters was the Skyhawks’ hot shooting from 3-point land. FLC hit 9 of its 10 3-pointers in the first half, connecting at a 50-percent clip from beyond the arc and 49 percent overall against just 44 percent for the Cowboys.

“We shot so poorly on Friday night,” Pietrack said. “It’s a character win for us to come back and deal with adversity and come back and get a good win like that. It’s the first time the seniors have won in this building.”

FLC center Torrey Udall suffered a first-half knee injury and didn’t return. Pietrack said the trainers didn’t suspect ligament damage, and the hope is his absence will be minimal.

Mannie Cass led the Cowboys with 19 points.

FLC will host CSU-Pueblo and UC-Colorado Springs next weekend at Whalen Gym.

heraldsports@durangoherald.com