The Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team was in the market for a bounceback victory.
Instead, Western State Colorado University made sure the Skyhawks never led and perhaps put their NCAA Tournament hopes in some hot water.
No. 17 FLC trimmed a 15-point lead down to three but couldn’t get ahead, falling prey to the Mountaineers 80-69 on Friday in Gunnison.
FLC started out cold, falling behind 16-2 early and shooting just 38 percent throughout the game. Nick Tomsick returned to the lineup to provide 22 points, but FLC got no closer than when the lead was cut to 53-50 with 9 minutes, 36 seconds to go.
Marcus Ayala added 18 points for FLC (18-6, 15-6 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference), and Alex Herrera had 14.
FLC shocked No. 1 Metro State last Friday night on its home court, then lost the next night to Regis. FLC dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 in the South Central Region rankings; the top eight make the NCAA Tournament field, so a loss to 11-15 Western State (10-11 RMAC) may have tournament implications.
Jordan Adams had 21 to lead the Mountaineers. Charles Joseph and Joseph Charles were interchangeable, despite their respective 6-8, 300 and 5-11, 170-pound frames, each with 16 points.