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Wild Game, Wild Finish – Western Colorado University Athletics

GUNNISON, Colorado Western Colorado rallied from a potential dagger of a 3-pointer from New Mexico Highlands University, cutting a late eight-point deficit to just one with three seconds remaining. However, the visiting Cowboys were able to survive a desperate half-court shot as the buzzer sounded to steal a hard-fought 75-73 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference win from the Mountaineers in men's basketball action Saturday night.

The physical game saw the referees sanction 34 fouls, sanction three techniques and distribute two expulsions of players, one from each team. NM Highlands def. Western Colorado 75-73
Records: Western Colorado 5-17 (4-12 RMAC), NM Highlands 9-11 (4-10)
Location: Paul Wright Gymnasium; Gunnison, Colo.


  • Sam Barnes-Thompkins hit a 3-pointer to lift what had been a shaky five-point Cowboys lead to eight with only 2:12 remaining in the game.
  • Western recovered in the last 30 seconds and, with less than five seconds left and trailing 74-70, Elijah Davidson managed an offensive rebound, returned to go up for a layup and was fouled on the play.
  • The free throw rolled around the rim before falling to cut the deficit to one, and now requires the Mountaineers to foul immediately at the Highland bounds.
  • The Cowboys' Marcus Brown missed the first of two from the free throw line, but scored the second. With three ticks remaining and NM Highlands leading 75-73, all Western could do was come in and almost immediately launch a desperate 3-pointer from his own end, an unlikely shot that went off the mark, allowing the Cowboys to escape. with the conference. victory.
  • Highlands led for most of the game, taking a 3-2 lead in less than two minutes and not relinquishing the lead until Matthew Ragsdale's 3-pointer found its mark nearly four minutes into second-half action.
  • The early change of lead grew to a 10-point lead for the Cowboys (12-2), but it would be the only double-digit difference in the game after Will Willis' layup cut the lead to eight on the subsequent possession of Western. .
  • N.M. The Highlands cushion wavered between two and six points for much of the rest of the game, the Cowboys never fully breaking away from the Mountaineers.
  • When all seemed lost after Barnes-Thompkins' 3-pointer, Western got up, buoyed by an Avery Rembao free throw and the first of his two late offensive rebounds and dropbacks from Davidson, this first one to lead the Mountaineers into a bucket. (72-70) with 23 seconds remaining.


  • Ragsdale got off to a slow start, not scoring his first points of the game to a layup at the 6:43 mark in the first half for his only points before halftime. He was a different player in the second half, scoring 18 more points to finish with a team-high 20.
  • Willis and Gino Corridori each finished the night with 14 points.
  • Davidson continues to show that he is among the best rebounders in the league, notching 15 points in the loss and missing the double-double by a single point, adding nine points to the Mountaineers' offensive efforts. Davidson hit double digits on the glass for the third game in a row and for the seventh time this season.
  • Davidson's six assists also led all players and were a career high. Ragsdale dished out five assists, which was also a career high.
  • Although the 34 total fouls were evenly distributed (18 committed by the Cowboys and 16 by the Mountaineers), N.M. Highlands went to the free throw line 21 times compared to just 9 for Western players. The Cowboys made 14 of the attempts, doubling the Mountaineers' 7 free throws.
  • Western has experienced second-half shivers on the shot of late, but on Saturday he was 18-for-34 from the floor in the second half to post a 53 percent half. Unfortunately, Highlands shot 56% (13-for-23) in the second half and made 13 of his free throws in the last 20 minutes of action.
    • The Mountaineers begin a four-game road trip on the RMAC route with their next outing, heading to Regis University on Friday, followed by a trip to the Colorado School of Mines on Saturday night.
    • NM Highlands hosts the Colorado State University-Pueblo conference Tuesday night.

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