Two words: Ryan Jameson.
"You took the words right out of my mouth," Fort Lewis College men's basketball coach Bob Hofman said. "He had to do something before his film debuts at the (Durango Independent) Film Festival, something basketball related.
"He was phenomenal."
Fort Lewis spotted Western State a 4-0 lead before Jameson carried the Skyhawks to Pueblo.
Blanketed by the filmmaker's glow, turns out his teammates actually played a part in that 13-0 Jameson special to start the game.
"I definitely needed the other four," said Jameson, whose film "Continuum" will debut at 3 p.m. Saturday then at 9 p.m. Sunday at the Gaslight Theatre. "That doesn't happen without them. They weren't guarding the 3, so I took advantage of it.
"Fortunately, they were going in."
Fort Lewis, the No. 3 seed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout, defeated No. 6 Western State 78-56 on Tuesday night at Whalen Gymnasium. With the first-round quarterfinal victory, FLC will play No. 7 Colorado Christian at 8 p.m. Friday night in a Shootout semifinal at the Colorado State Fair Events Center in Pueblo.
Compliments - ahem! - of Jameson, the Durango High School alumnus playing his final collegiate home game at Whalen Gym.
He hit a 3 off an inbounds pass.
He hit a pull-up 3-pointer.
He scored a layup in transition.
Western State, now trailing 8-4 to Jameson, called a 30-second timeout to cool his hot hand.
He hit a pull-up 3-pointer.
He scored high off the glass with his left (nondominant) hand to cap a personal 13-0 run to start the game and start the Skyhawks to a 13-4 lead.
Fellow senior Jordan Brooks pushed pause on Jameson's special feature with four free throws in between a pair of Cameron Burney field goals for Western State, then Jameson pushed play again.
He hit a step-back 3-pointer.
He scored a layup off an inbounds pass.
Jameson scored all 18 of his first-half points in the game's first 10 minutes. He gave the Skyhawks a 22-8 lead with their first seven field goals from the floor.
He checked out of the game with 10:15 to play in the first half to a standing ovation. He checked back into the game less than 2 minutes later.
"I thought they took him out of the game by grabbing and holding them," Hofman said. "Then again, they had to."
Fort Lewis (23-8) led 40-19 at the half.
Western State, barely, led Jameson 19-18 at the half.
"Our last home game against Adams, we played really well in the first half then came out flat in the second half; we wanted to avoid that," Jameson said. "I thought we were a little flat the first 5 minutes of the second half, but I thought we pushed through it."
Western closed the gap in the second half, but never got as close as single digits.
Burney, who lit up the Sky-
hawks from long range in the
Mountaineers' 10-point victory Feb. 6 in Durango, had four first-half fouls and fouled out of the game with six points - no 3s - early in the second half.
"Our goal was to not let him get off early, same thing with (Justin) Avalos," Hofman said.
Avalos scored 11 points.
Jameson, the plot, the storyline, the McGuffin, led all scorers with 28 points.
He was 9-for-13 from the floor, 6-for-9 from 3, 4-for-4 from the free throw line, and he finished the game with seven rebounds, three assists and one steal in 38 minutes.
"It was a team effort," he said. "It was a great win. We needed this win so bad."
In the win-or-go-home tournament, Fort Lewis earned another game against a surprise opponent. No. 7 Colorado Christian upset No. 2 N.M. Highlands in Las Vegas, N.M., 86-83 on Tuesday night.
No. 1 Metro State will play No. 5 CSU-Pueblo at 4 p.m. Friday in the other semifinal.
"We're looking forward to that," Jameson said of Colorado Christian.
"I still think our best basketball is ahead of us," Hofman said.