Fort Lewis College worked hard to get back into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference postseason chase, but four losses on a four-game road trip have ended the Skyhawks’ tournament hopes.
The defending RMAC regular-season champion FLC men’s basketball team fell 74-59 Saturday night in Salt Lake City against Westminster College. The Skyhawks (9-12, 4-11 RMAC) trailed 36-27 at halftime and couldn’t climb back into the game in the second half against the Griffins (8-11, 6-9 RMAC) despite 19 points from senior forward Marquel Beasley and 15 points from freshman forward Brenden Boatwright.
“We made a bit of a run at them and cut it to four, but they hit a couple of 3s to get it back to 10,” FLC head coach Bob Pietrack said. “We just don’t have the depth, especially on the back end of a four-game road trip, to have the type of energy to win a game against a good team.”
Westminster put up a well-rounded attack with 15 points each from Jake Connor, Joonas Tahvanainen and Brandon Warr. Alex Monson added 14 points and nine rebounds.
FLC lost point guard A.J. Sparks to a recurring back injury in Friday’s loss at Dixie State. Down its top three points guards, FLC turned to Ignacio High alum Wyatt Hayes once more. He played 18 minutes and had three points and two assists.
Aside from Beasley’s 9-of-20 shooting effort, the rest of the Skyhawks’ starters combined to shoot 4-of-18.
“We are pretty limited right now,” Pietrack said. “The season is not going like we’d hoped; that’s not a secret to anybody. We’ve got four scholarship players either out or not with the program right now, and that adds up quick.”
The Skyhawks have seven games to play this season, and five of those will come at home as Pietrack assesses his roster going into a big offseason.
“We will play really hard,” Pietrack said. “That’s a staple of our program. Hopefully we can taste some success. This road trip has been hard. We just got to get home and try to get healthy. We don’t need to make excuses for what it is right now, it just is. We need to get home and have some positive energy from the fans to try to get us back on track. We’ll play every game trying to win and compete and represent the program and the school as well as we can.”