The men’s basketball team opened up the 2015-16 season with a split at the Tip Off Classic in Casper this past weekend. The Rustlers fell to Air Force Academy in the first game, 77-64, but bounced back to down Impact Academy, 81-68.
Air Force kept the lead in the first half, 37-22. The Rustlers were unable to overcome the 15 point lead but they came back in the second half leading by two points, 42-40.
Top shooters for the Rustlers were Travonta Maddox scoring in the double digits for the team with 16 points. Fellow teammates Nicholas Anderson and Devon Brown each scored ten points. Anderson had the lead for free throws scoring six points.
Air Force had a stronger defense leading with 26 points, nine points ahead of the Rustlers.
“We’re very much a work in progress,” Coach Pat Rafferty said. “With so many guys new to the program I’m still learning and trying to determine who are our hardest playing, smartest and toughest players.”
The Rustlers had a successful second game of the weekend defeating Impact Academy, 81-68. The Rustlers dominated the court in the first half, 40-26 but in the second half Impact kept a close game, 40-42.
Dominic Jackson led the Rustlers in double digits scoring 26 points for the Rustlers. Nick Anderson and Marcus Nolan each added 12 points with Gary Long, Jr. and Travonta Maddox contributing 11 and 10 respectively.
“We have to improve our decision making offensively as we have too many turn overs,” Rafferty said. “Once we can improve in that area we should function better on offense and help our execution. We also have to continually development our skill level as our passing, shooting and dribbling must improve. There is always room for improvement defensively and I’m hopeful we’ll make a greater commitment to the defensive end of the floor.”
The Rustlers will have two home games this weekend for the Subway/Rendezvous Dental Classic. The will play Snow College on Friday at 7:30 pm and Laramie County Community College on Saturday at 3 pm.
“This week we’ll have two difficult games at home against Snow College Friday and LCCC on Saturday,” Rafferty said. “Both are very good teams who will expose our deficiencies.”