PUEBLO, Colo. – Colorado State-Pueblo jumped out to a 33-11 advantage in the opening 10 minutes of the contest en route to an 84-65 win over Rogers State men's basketball to start the 2017-18 season on Friday at Masssari Arena in the first day of the conference challenge.

The Thunderwolves scored the first eight points of the game in less than three minutes and held an 18-4 lead after six and a half minutes in the contest. The margin grew to 36-11 on a 3-pointer from Josh Smith with 7:36 remaining before half. CSU-Pueblo went into halftime with a 47-25 advantage on the Hillcats.

In the second half, the closest the Cats could get was the final margin of 84-65. In the final four and a half minutes, RSU ended the game on a 20-2 run to cut the deficit to 19 points.

Senior guard Baron Smith Jr. and junior forward Gabriel Ferreira tied for the team lead in points with 11. Saint Hilaire pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Four of the five starters for CSU-P scored in double figures with Will Newman posting a game-high 20 points. Smith hit five 3-pointers to tally 19 points.

The Thunderwolves were hot from the field at 54.5 percent (30-55), including 53.6 percent (15-28) from 3-point range. RSU shot 35 percent (21-60) and 33.3 percent (7-21) from 3.

Saturday’s game

PUEBLO, Colo. – The Rogers State men's basketball team build a 20-point advantage in the first half and held on to defeat Midwestern State, 73-67, Saturday night at Massari Arena in the finale of its conference challenge.

The Hillcats jump out early on the Mustangs by scoring the first eight points of the contest and led by as many as 20 points, coming at the mid-point of the opening half. The starting five came through for RSU with 55 points to secure their first win of the young season.

After taking an 11-5 lead, the Hillcats turned up the pressure defensively and kept MSU scoreless for more than six minutes, while putting up 14 points of their own for a commanding 25-5 margin with 11:25 to play in the first half. The Mustangs trimmed the deficit to single digits, but RSU closed the stanza with three free throws by Tate Turner, after being fouled on a last-second three pointer, to give the Hillcats a 40-27 lead at the break.

MSU used the second half to rally on RSU and scored 19 of the first 24 points to take its first lead of the night, 46-45, and later pushed its advantage to four. The Hillcats responded with a 10-0 run, scoring six of the points at the free throw line, to regain control and swing momentum back in their favor. RSU never looked back and closed out the victory, 73-67, getting 18 of its 33 points in the second half at the charity stripe.

Turner paced three Hillcats in double-figure scoring with a game-high 17 points as the junior connected on 4-of-7 shooting. Baron Smith Jr. added 15 points, nine of which came at the free throw line and Brewster Peacock chipped in 12 hitting all five of his free throw attempts. Smith Jr. led RSU with nine rebounds and three assists. Gage Loy and Saint Hillaire each added six rebounds.

RSU (1-1) hits the road for a rivalry matchup at Northeastern State Wednesday night (Nov. 15) in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff as part of a women's and men's doubleheader against the Riverhawks with live coverage on the Hillcat Network at RSUHillcats.com.

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