With fans checking their rosters to familiarize themselves with new faces on the Fort Lewis College roster, junior
guard DeAndre Lansdowne wore the expression of a proud papa.
"With the new guys, they're really listening to me," the preseason Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Player of the
"I'm really excited. We'll have the same group for two years, and we're just in building right now. You see how we
did (Friday night), it's just going to get better and better each day."
Friday night saw the Skyhawks beat Calumet College 87-56 in their season opener at Whalen Gymnasium, treating almost
1,000 in attendance to a blowout victory and dealing the Crimson Wave (2-5) its fifth loss of the young season.
"It's a really good feeling to start the year off positive against a good team," a euphemistic Lansdowne said.
The Crimson Wave shot just 29 percent from the field, while the Skyhawks shot 49.3 percent by making use of a
dominant size advantage in the paint, where their opponents have no upperclassmen taller than 6-foot-3.
In his sophomore season after sitting out last year as a redshirt, Durango High School graduate Matt Morris had 21
points on 8 of 9 shooting to go with 10 rebounds, a block, a steal and two assists in just 22 minutes.
Lansdowne scored 12 points, blocked four shots and got two steals in limited time, while junior sharpshooter Daniel
Steffensen had eight points and six boards while making his first start for the Skyhawks in his first season at Fort
"Calumet, playing at elevation, I thought did a real good job of just playing hard and doing what they wanted to do,"
FLC 14th-year head coach Bob Hofman said.
"We were just fortunate to make more outside shots."
Lansdowne set the tone early, winning the opening tip and thundering home four breakaway dunks as FLC jumped out to a
13-5 lead four minutes into the first.
"We were getting our hands on a lot of balls, and the guys were just looking up and finding me," Lansdowne said.
"That's the kind of game that we want to play, to get a lot of transition baskets."
Lansdowne exited for a breather, and the Skyhawk offense promptly went flat.
Mere moments after his re-entry, a Lansdowne alley-oop broke a long slump to spark a nine-point run and a 38-12
advantage for the home team.
FLC ended the half without scoring for the final two minutes, but the starters were revitalized at the start of the
Morris scored six consecutive points to make it 45-22 after the break, then Steffensen's steal and layup brought it
to 47-22 less than two minutes after the restart.
"I thought (Morris) kind of shook the cobwebs off from the year off in the second half," Hofman said. "I thought he
did an excellent job."
Morris hit another jumper, and sophomore junior college transfer Matt Billups - like Lansdowne a former Albuquerque
Metro Player of the Year - got a steal and passed it behind his back falling out of bounds to junior Kyle Behrens for
Steffensen then found Lansdowne underneath with a strong, two-handed pass, junior reserve Tayler Faust hit a 3, Morris sank two at the stripe, and Steffensen bombed a 24-foot 3-pointer to bring it to 62-28 ... goodbye starters.
"He's a terrific outside shooter, and I thought he showed that (Friday night)," Hofman said of Steffensen.
The Crimson Wave played well against the second unit, but despite their best attempt at a rally, the Skyhawks led by
31 when the final buzzer rang.
Billups got the start at the point, recording seven points and five assists to go with four steals in 18 minutes.
"Matt still needs to work on his defensive angles, but he's very unselfish, he plays hard, and he's a good addition,"
Sophomore guard Kit Hensel had 13 points in a reserve role, while freshman Bryse Velasquez helmed the point for the
second unit and had six rebounds, three steals and four assists - a number that could've been higher had the Skyhawks
been shooting bettter.
"Offensively, we didn't have the rhythm that we need to have," Hofman said.
"We've got a lot of work to do. I thought the effort was reasonable, but it could be a lot better."
Keith Dean led the Crimson Wave with 17 points and six rebounds.
The athletic Calumet College team totaled 16 steals but conceded 24 turnovers.
Hofman wasn't thrilled with his team's performance at the free throw line, where the Skyhawks hit just 12 of 27 for a
44 percent clip.
"We can't end up being 12-for-27 at the free throw line in a close game," Hofman said. "That's something we really
have to emphasize."
The Skyhawks will try to improve upon that statistic when they host their final game of the George B. Boedecker
Foundation Classic at 7:30 p.m. today against Grand Canyon University (0-3).