Down by 11 points in the second half without starting senior point guard Daniel Hernandez, the Fort Lewis College men’s basketball team turned in its performance of the season.
Despite a career night from Regis’ Ty McGee, who finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds, the FLC Skyhawks stormed back to force overtime behind hot shooting from DJ Miles, solid rebounding from Brandon Wilson and a big putback dunk by Marquel Beasley.
In overtime, FLC found enough defensive stops to pull out an 85-83 road victory in Denver.
“Considering we were on the road and who we had to play and who we beat, on paper this is our best win of the year, but by no means was it our best played game of the year,” FLC head coach Bob Pietrack said. “Regis was 8-1 at home coming into the game. We shot 1-of-13 from 3 and found a way to win. Gutsy for our team.”
FLC (15-3, 11-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) had a chance to win at the end of regulation, but a 3-point attempt from Miles at the buzzer banked off the glass and went halfway down before it rattled out to send the game to overtime tied 77-77.
Regis (12-5, 6-5 RMAC) got out to a quick 80-77 lead in overtime,
Back-to-back buckets from Miles gave the Skyhawks a 81-80 lead, but McGee restored the Regis advantage to 82-81 from the foul line.
FLC put an exclamation point on its comeback win when Wilson pulled down a rebound and fed a pass to Rasmus Bach who found Alex Semadeni for an alley-oop dunk that gave FLC an 83-82 lead with 39 seconds to go in overtime. Bach then made a pair of free throws to give FLC an 85-82 lead and put the game away.
FLC trailed by 11 with 8:07 to play in the second half. Though the team rallied, it missed a chance to win in regulation thanks to a lowly night at the foul line. FLC was only 14-of-27 from the free-throw line in regulation but made its only two attempts in overtime.
“We had to win the game multiple times,” Pietrack said. “We got down 11, they hit a shot at the shot-clock buzzer, but our team didn’t get down. We’ve had a saying this year to not get discouraged but to get determined. When we went down 11, we got determined.”
McGee was sensational for the Regis Rangers. He shot 11-of-16 from the field and added three steals. He energized the Rangers’ fans with two big highlight reel dunks.
FLC got huge efforts from Beasley and Wilson, who helped the Skyhawks win the rebounding battle 49-40. Wilson finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Beasley finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds, including six offensive boards.
“Marquel and Brandon, to both go get big-time double-doubles and control the rebounding the way we did, it was special,” Pietrack said. “It takes a collective effort in this league on the road, and you have to be tough. This was the toughest win of the year.”
Bach finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists for FLC. Miles finished with 21 points and hit the team’s only 3-pointer.
Daniel Hernandez finished with 13 points but played only 23 minutes before he fouled out.
Dexter Sienko finished with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Regis, and he added eight rebounds. He, too, fouled out late in the second half.
FLC held Jarrett Brodbeck to 0-of-10 shooting from 3-point land, and he finished the regular season against FLC shooting only 3-of-20 from deep range. FLC beat the Rangers 89-79 Dec. 30 in Durango. Brodbeck is one of the RMAC’s top 3-point shooters.
“Kane Martinez gave us good minutes on Brodbeck again,” Pietrack said.
FLC will now travel five hours to Chadron State in Nebraska to play the last-place Eagles (3-16, 1-11 RMAC) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
“We have the toughest back-end of a back-to-back in all of Division II basketball with the trip to Chadron,” Pietrack said. “We have to find a way to muster enough energy to play 40 minutes. This RMAC is a gauntlet, a war every night. Records don’t matter, you have to play great.”