Fort Lewis wins RMAC Champ.
Skyhawks return to NCAA tourney for seventh time in nine years
PUEBLO, Colo. -- Fort Lewis College (22-7) defeated Colorado Mines (24-5) 72-67 tonight at the Colorado State Fair Events Center to win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Shootout in men's basketball and earn the conference's automatic bid in the NCAA Division II playoffs, which begin next Saturday.
DeAndre Lansdowne scored 17 points while Daniel Steffensen added 15 as Fort Lewis won its fifth RMAC postseason title in men's basketball and fourth of head coach Bob Hofman's career. The Skyhawks last took home RMAC Shootout hardware in 2007-08.
The back-and-forth affair featured the team picked by league coaches to win the RMAC title in a preseason poll (Fort Lewis) and the team that actually won the regular season title (Mines). The Orediggers led 33-27 at half, trailed by as many as 12 in the second stanza, and trimmed the lead to a single point late in the game.
Fort Lewis, which has struggled from the foul line most of the season, made its biggest free throws in its biggest game of the year, sinking 20 of 27 from the charity stripe (74.1 percent). David Kanyinda went 9-for-11 from the foul line and finished with 12 points.
Steffensen was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the RMAC Shootout, and was joined on the all-tournament team by Lansdowne and Kyle Behrens. The Orediggers were represented by Gordon Galloway and Dale Minschwaner. Marqus Richards of Adams State was also named to the team.
Minschwaner led the Orediggers by recording a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds), while Galloway added 15 points and eight caroms.
The Skyhawks earned the RMAC's automatic bid to the NCAA playoffs and will find at 7:30 p.m. MT tomorrow night what their seed will be and who they will play in the first round of March Madness.
2011 marks the seventh time since 2001-02 that Fort Lewis has appeared in the NCAA Division II tournament.