On its worst night of the season, the Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team fought until the bitter end but suffered the same fate as the FLC women on a tough night in Spearfish, South Dakota.
No. 21 Fort Lewis College (13-3, 9-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) trailed all night at Black Hills State but did its best to keep the game close down the stretch. But the Yellow Jackets, led by Makaleb McInnis, held off the Skyhawks to secure a 67-64 home win at the Young Center.
“They played great, and we didn’t play very well, and that’s not a very good combination if you’re a ’Hawk,” FLC head coach Bob Pietrack said.
McInnis finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Black Hills (9-5, 6-4 RMAC). He finished 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-4 from 3 and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.
“He hurt us. They all made some tough shots,” Pietrack said. “When we go on the road, we’re everybody’s Super Bowl, and we know that. We have to play an A-game on the road to win, and we didn’t play an A tonight.”
FLC struggled mightily on the offensive end and shot only 38.5 percent from the field and 20-of-31 from the foul line.
“We had major problems,” Pietrack said. “We didn’t make our free throws, we gave them 12 3-pointers, which is uncharacteristic for them, but credit them for playing a good game.”
Preseason RMAC Player of the Year Rasmus Bach finished with 11 points but was held to two field goals, and he didn’t make his first shot from the field until there was only 3 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Bach did finished with six rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
Brandon Wilson, FLC’s senior center, led the team with 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and two steals.
Riley Farris had 10 points off the bench for FLC, and Daniel Hernandez finished with eight. One game after scoring 33 points to beat University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, FLC junior forward Marquel Beasley was held to only four points on 1-of-8 shooting. He grabbed eight rebounds.
“Their defense gave us fits and we couldn’t make a shot there for awhile,” Pietrack said. “They’re a very good defensive team and we didn’t play very good offense.”
Fraser Malcolm and Stefan Desnica each had 10 points for the Yellow Jackets.
The loss moved FLC back into a three-way tie in the loss column for first place in the RMAC. FLC’s nine wins still put the Skyhawks in first, but Westminster (12-2, 8-2 RMAC) and Colorado Mines (13-2, 7-2 RMAC) kept pace Friday. Metro State (8-8, 7-3 RMAC) is in fourth.
“Our backs are up against the wall right now in this regional,” Pietrack said. “We have to find a way to play better on the road, because we have not played well on the road the last two times.”
Up next for the Skyhawks is a 5:30 p.m. tipoff Saturday at South Dakota Mines (6-9, 3-7 RMAC).