By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (November 25, 2016) — Rico Spikes hit the game winning free throw with 1.69 seconds Colorado State-Pueblo (2-2) upset No. 7 Tarleton State (3-1) in Wisdom Gym for the second straight year.
No. 7 Tarleton had the ball under its basket with 2.53 seconds remaining, but an inbound pass was tipped away and Spikes was fouled by Josh Hawley to set up the decisive trip to the line.
Tarleton, trying to hold for the final shot, had Deshawn Riddick go on the attack with six seconds remaining. He went up through contact without a foul call and the rebound went out of bounds to Tarleton.
The miss soured a career night for Riddick. The junior point guard poured in a career-best 27 points including a personal 7-0 run to start the second half, giving Tarleton a 46-38 lead. The Texans did not trail in the second half until the finishing free throw by Spikes.
Mark Williams went 6-9 from the floor and 12-14 from the line to lead CSU-Pueblo with 25 points. Josh Smith added 16 and Will Newman 15 for the Thunderwolves, who shot 51.1 percent, the highest mark Tarleton has allowed this season. They were especially effective shooting the ball in the second half, hitting 56.5 percent.
Tarleton was in foul trouble from the start and CSU-Pueblo cashed in, going 20-26 from the free throw line, where Tarleton struggled to a 11-21 mark.
Anthony Davis and Ridell Camidge joined Riddick in double figures with 11 and 10, respectively for Tarleton, which had a six-game home winning streak snapped. The last time the Texans lost at home was 67-65 to Texas A&M-Commerce on January 30.
Tarleton led 77-73 with 1:36 left after four straight free throws by Davis, a redshirt freshman. But Newman drove for two points in the paint for the Thunderwolves, then Romond Jenkins, was fouled and made one of two free throws for a 78-75 Tarleton edge.
But Newman drove for a bucket and a foul on Jenkins, and buried the ensuing free throw game to tie it up with 32 seconds remaining.
That’s when Tarleton decided to hold for the last shot. Riddick blew by his man and was hit on the side of the body and his right arm as he went up for the shot. There was no call, then a quick whistle with the ball loose on the inbound.
Tarleton shot 45.9 percent but was 16-27, just 59.3 percent, from the foul stripe.
It was a game of runs, including a 15-0 burst by CSU-Pueblo to take a 22-13 lead early in the game. Tarleton, which previously had a 9-0 run to lead 13-7, recovered, evening the score at 26-26. The Texans used a runner by Riddick to take a 39-38 lead into the locker room.
Riddick had 11 at the half, and the seven-point burst in the opening moments of the second half gave him a career high with 18 minutes and change still to play. He added another seven points down the stretch, and dealt a pair of impressive assists to set up Josh Hawley slams. The first was an alley-oop familiar to fans at Wisdom Gym. On the next, Riddick drove and looked left then delivered a no-look pass between two CSU-Pueblo defenders to an open Hawley on the back-side block.
Hawley also had a vicious it-back jam, scoring six of his eight off the bench on dunks.
Tarleton closes out the Thanksgiving Classic by against Emmanuel College at 7 p.m. Saturday. CSU-Pueblo will be in the 5 p.m. matinee against Texas A&M-Commerce. TAMUC defeated Emmanuel, 85-74, in the opening game of the event Friday evening.
Photos courtesy NATE BURAL/Tarleton Athletic Communications