PUEBLO, Colo. — CSU-Pueblo defeated No. 2 Metro State 70-69 behind a late-game score from senior Arden Dennis. It marked the first time the ThunderWolves have beaten the Roadrunners since 1998.
Dennis’ drive down the line and running right-hander with three second left delivered a win against Metro State, giving the ThunderWolves their first win against a top-five ranked team.
The win nearly slipped throught its fingers as CSU-Pueblo saw a 68-61 lead disintegrate down the stretch. Bryse Velasquez then made a layup to put the Pack up by seven at the 4:44 mark.
Metro State embarked on a comeback from that point. The Roadrunners forced two missed field goals and three turnovers down the stretch while closing the advantage with two field goals, including a 3-pointer, as it used a 7-0 run to tie the game at 68.
With 18 seconds remaining and the score still tied, Jed Knafelc was called for a foul on a rebound on a 50-50 ball, sending Metro State’s Mitch McCarron to the line. But McCarron only hit 1-for-2, giving the ThunderWolves the final possession only trailing by one and setting up Dennis’ game-winner.
Pack coach Ralph Turner said the game-winner was nothing fancy, coming on a standard end-of-game play that the team runs to get must-have points.
“It was something we run at the end of games where we look for three or look for a mismatch,” Turner said. “Sometimes we run the play to Bryse [Velasquez] because he’s such a good foul shooter, but Arden [Dennis] took it and put it in.”
“Coach [Turner] drew up a play and he said ‘We’ll see who’s guarding you or Bryse,’” Dennis said. “I wanted the ball in my hands and when I got a lane to the basket, I finished.”
CSU-Pueblo had lost 17 consecutive games to the Roadrunners.