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Here’s how Fort Lewis basketball compares to the rest of the country statistically

The women’s team is 3-3, while the men are 4-1
Brayden Carter of Fort Lewis College fights through the defense and puts up a shot while playing Western New Mexico University at FLC earlier in the season. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Through five games, statistical trends are starting to appear for the Fort Lewis men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Here’s a look at how both the men’s and women’s squads stack up with the rest of NCAA Division II and last year’s teams in key statistical categories entering Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play:

Points Per Game

The men are averaging 77.6 points scored per game through five games, which is sixth out of 15 RMAC teams and 132nd out of 287 teams nationwide.

The Skyhawks averaged 84 points a game last season. However, coach Bob Pietrack forecast this dip because he thought his team would be better defensively, which brings scoring down.

Scoring hasn’t been as easy for the women’s team, which is averaging 66.3 points per game. That statistic is tied for 151st out of 291 schools across the country and eighth in the RMAC. Fort Lewis averaged 61.5 points per game last season.

So far this season, the Fort Lewis women have struggled with turnovers and converting open looks on offense.

Points Per Game Allowed

The men’s team is allowing 68.6 points per game on defense, which ranks fifth in the RMAC and 70th nationwide.

Pietrack’s forecast is looking accurate once again, as the Skyhawks allowed 73.8 points a game last season.

This season, Fort Lewis has plenty of length and athleticism to be a top defensive team. Discipline will also be a key factor.

The women’s team has thrived on the defensive end with the 2-3 zone defense and press it employs.

The Skyhawks are allowing just 56.5 points per game, ranked 35th in the country and second in the RMAC. Fort Lewis’ depth has allowed it to put on that frenetic defense for 40 minutes.

Field Goal Percentage

Both the men’s and women’s teams are struggling with shooting efficiency.

The men’s team is shooting 42.52% overall, which is 10th in the RMAC and 226th in the country. One explanation for this poor start could be a new team made up of mostly transfers still needs time to mesh.

The Skyhawks shot 47.8% from the floor last year.

The women’s team is even worse, shooting 34.97% overall. That statistic is ranked last in the RMAC and 251st nationwide.

Aside from missed open looks, Fort Lewis has been sloppy with the ball at times and hasn’t been successful in its heavy isolation offense.

The Skyhawks were better last season, as they shot 38.9% from the floor.

3-Point Percentage

Both teams are also struggling to shoot the ball from beyond the arc.

The men are ranked 11th in the RMAC and 175th in the country shooting 32.67% from downtown, despite junior guard Tristan Hurdle leading the team in the category by shooting an impressive 73% from beyond the arc so far.

Last season, the men shot 37.7% from 3-point range.

The women’s squad is shooting 27.7% from beyond the arc, which is 12th in the RMAC and 197th in the country.

Sophomore guard Lanae Billy is in a bit of a shooting slump by her standards, as she’s only shooting 33% from deep.

The Skyhawks were sixth in the RMAC last season in 3-point shooting after shooting 31.2% from deep.

Rebounding Margin

Rebounding has been a positive for both teams.

The men and women are both out-rebounding their opponents so far.

The men are fifth in the RMAC and 77th in the country, out-rebounding their opponents by 4.8 rebounds per game.

Junior forward Brayden Carter has been a beast on the glass, averaging 8.2 rebounds per game. Junior guard Obi Agbim is also rebounding well from the guard position, averaging 4.4 boards per game.

Rebounding has improved since last year with the size and strength Pietrack added to the men’s team during the transfer portal. Last season, the Skyhawks only out-rebounded their opponents by 0.1 rebound per game.

The women are out-rebounding their opponents by an average of 1.7 rebounds per game, which is ranked fifth in the RMAC and 136th in the country.

Junior Sydney Bevington is leading the charge, averaging 9.4 boards. Redshirt junior Lilly Pepper is averaging 6.8 rebounds per game off the bench, including a combined 22 rebounds during Fort Lewis’ last two games.

The rebounding margin looks better than the number because it’s traditionally harder to rebound out of a zone defense, which the Skyhawks play.

Fort Lewis ranked 14th in the RMAC last season, as opponents out-rebounded the Skyhawks by a margin of 4.6.

Turnover Margin

So far this season, the Fort Lewis women have been one of the top teams in the country when it comes to forced turnovers. The problem is they also cough up the ball a ton.

The Skyhawks are 11th in the country in forced turnovers with 25.2 per game with their 2-3 zone and press.

However, they are 41st in turnover margin at plus-5.17 because they are 223rd in the country in turnovers per game with 20 per game, due to sloppy play on the offensive end.

Fort Lewis is second in the RMAC in turnover margin after finishing 11th last year in the conference for the same category.

The Fort Lewis men are fourth in the RMAC and tied for 87th nationwide with a plus-2.2 turnover margin after finishing first last season in the RMAC with a plus-3.73 turnover margin.

bkelly@durangoherald.com



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