Adams State outscored New Mexico Highlands 14-6 in the second overtime period late Tuesday, pulling away for a 106-98 win in the opening round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout.
It was a war of attrition, as five Cowboys and four Grizzlies fouled out of the game. Highlands’ leading scorer Thomas Manzano was among the casualties, fouling out early in the final overtime period.
Momcilo Latinovic led NMHU with 17 points and eight rebounds. Mindaugas Markevicius and Chris Newsome had 16 points apiece, and Ryan Daniels added 12 points and four assists off the bench.
Adams State’s Marqus Richards led all scorers with 27 on 10 of 18 shooting.
The Grizzlies outrebounded the visiting Cowboys 51-40 in reaching the 20-win plateau for the first time since joining NCAA Division II in 1992. The Cowboys, who have qualified for the RMAC Shootout in each of Joe Harge’s three years as head coach, were denied their third consecutive 20-win season.
Highlands trailed 42-38 at halftime but regained the lead on a pair of Markevicius free throws. Seth Heinbaugh’s layup made it 46-45 Adams State but a dunk by Derek Freeman sparked a 12-0 run (capped by Ryan Gonzales’ three-pointer) that put the Cowboys ahead 57-46 with 14:12 left.
The Grizzlies replied with a 10-2 run. Highlands held on to the lead until a disastrous 9-0 ASC run over the last 2 1/2 minutes of regulation. Deray Wilson hit two foul shots to put the Grizzlies up 77-76 with 6 seconds remaining. Newsome drew a foul and, with no time on the clock, hit the tying free throw. He missed the second, and the game went into overtime.
Highlands led most of the first overtime, and Ryan Daniels’ free throws gave the ‘Pokes a 92-89 edge with 8 seconds left. But Shayar Lee nailed a three-pointer to beat the buzzer and force a second OT session.
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Former West Las Vegas star Vera Jo Bustos had 22 points and six assists to lead the Adams State women past Mesa State 77-57 earlier Tuesday in Alamosa. Bustos, who recently broke the all-time career scoring mark at ASC, hit four three-pointers.