The last time the Regis men’s basketball team was in Durango, it was for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament championship game. The stakes won’t be the same at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the Rangers visit Fort Lewis College, but the environment could rival it, as the Skyhawks have their whiteout game planned with fans asked to dress in white.
The first 1,300 fans through the door at Whalen Gymnasium on Saturday will receive a white FLC shirt. With the Skyhawks sitting at 9-12 overall and 4-11 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and well back in the chase for a spot in this year’s RMAC tournament, FLC plans to have some fun in the final seven games with five of those at home.
“We cherish every game,” FLC head coach Bob Pietrack said. “No one is promised more games. Athletics are pretty fickle. We have an opportunity to play two more games at home this weekend at the college level, and that’s pretty cool. I think we have a chance to have a good atmosphere both nights. We’re playing a couple of teams that we lost to already, and we get a chance to run it back again and play them again. Let’s run it back and see what happens.”
Before FLC can worry about Saturday’s game with Regis (15-6, 12-3 RMAC), it must first face Colorado Christian (6-15, 4-11 RMAC) at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Two weeks ago, FLC played the same two teams on the road and fell 78-70 to Regis before a 89-77 loss to Colorado Christian.
“We have some familiarity, and we’re excited to be home,” Pietrack said. “We haven’t been home in three weeks, so it will be nice to be back, and we’re looking forward to playing with good energy.”
The Skyhawks dropped all four road games on its latest trip and struggled with the loss of point guard A.J. Sparks last weekend in Utah. Pietrack said Sparks will be available this weekend after it was feared he may miss the rest of the season with his recurring back injury.
In the loss to Regis, it was freshman Toni Rocak who came off the bench to score 17 points for the Rangers to add to guard Christian Little’s 14 points and seven rebounds. FLC held RMAC Preseason Player of the Year and last year’s RMAC tournament MVP Jarrett Brodbeck to only seven points on 2-of-9 shooting. Brodbeck is sixth in the RMAC in scoring at 17.7 points per game.
In that loss, Beasley played only 15 minutes because of foul trouble and exited with two points. He has led FLC all season with 17.2 points per game. Iyekekpolor led FLC that night with 17 points and four rebounds, while Kireed Johnson added 12 points and seven rebounds. Will Wittman also had 16 points off the bench.
Pietrack knows his team, which is down two guards and star forward Riley Farris, will need everyone to try to finish the season on a strong note.
“With our situation, we need all hands on deck,” he said. “We’ve dealt with adversity all year, and we need everybody to be successful. We’re as healthy as we’re going to get right now.
“We will experiment some. We don’t feel a ton of pressure where we’re at, and we’re going to play for our program and with a lot of pride and have fun. When you start playing basketball as a kid, the reason you do it is to have fun. We want to have fun while playing and give our seniors some fun while we close out this last month.”