Ahead of critical matchups Friday with the Metro State University-Denver men’s and women’s basketball teams, the nationally-ranked Fort Lewis College programs earned some awards after two big wins to end 2017.
Vivian Gray, a freshman on the FLC women’s team, took home both Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference weekly awards by sweeping offensive and defensive player of the week. FLC senior center Brandon Wilson was named the men’s defensive player of the week.
FLC’s men’s team (11-2, 7-1 RMAC) also climbed two spots to No. 20 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches Division II poll. FLC has been ranked in the men’s top 25 for a program record 35 consecutive weeks, a remarkable feat for a small program located in a hard-to-reach mountain town with 301 other NCAA Division II programs in the country.
The FLC women (13-1, 7-1 RMAC) were ranked No. 15 last week, and the new national poll will be released Wednesday. Head coach Jason Flores could see his team climb a few more spots when it is released after a 2-0 weekend and a big home win against Regis on Saturday.
Gray, a five-star recruit from Argyle, Texas, earned her third RMAC Defensive Player of the Week honor and first on the offensive end. She averaged 21.5 points and four rebounds last week and shot an extremely efficient 62.1 percent from the field.
Against Regis, Gray was credited with only two rebounds but added five steals and two blocked shots. In Friday’s win against Chadron State, Gray had four blocks and one steal to go with two assists in only 21 minutes played.
Wilson, the Preseason RMAC Defensive Player of the Year from Littleton, won the weekly award for the second time this season. He had five rebounds and two blocked shots to go with eight points in 20 minutes played Friday against Chadron State, and he was key down low against Regis’ star forward Dexter Sienko in Saturday’s big 89-79 win against the Rangers. In that win, Wilson had a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds to go with three blocked shots and one steal in a heavy workload of 34 minutes. He also made all four of his free throws and went 6-of-10 shooting.
The FLC men will play Metro State at 7:30 p.m. Friday with first place in the RMAC on the line. The women’s game will tipoff at 5:30 p.m. Friday in another pivotal conference game for the surging women’s program that has eyes on winning the conference and hosting a regional later this season.