CHADRON, Neb. — December 16, 2018 — The visiting Colorado Mesa University Mavericks put two 20-point scorers on the floor by shooting 54.5 percent from the field and 8-of-18 from beyond the three-point arc, downing Chadron State College men’s basketball 79-69 Sunday evening in the Chicoine Center in Chadron. CMU improved to 8-3 (3-2 RMAC) while CSC fell to 5-6 (3-2 RMAC) in the final game of 2018 for both teams.
“I like Mesa’s team,” said CSC Head Basketball Coach Houston Reed. “They’re a little different from most of the teams in the league. They’ve got some guards that can really get to the rim, with a combination of some guys on the perimeter that can shoot. It gets you in this off-balance game where you’re guessing and choosing between taking shooters away and keeping guys out of the paint. We haven’t been scored on in bunches like this yet. With teams like this, we’ve got to be able to score along with them better than we did. It’s something we can definitely fix.
For its part, the CSC offense was rolling in the first half. The Eagles shot 53.3 percent to start the game, including a 5-for-6 opening five minutes. They opened up an 11-3 lead just 4:16 into the game.
Chadron State sputtered midway through the period, missing seven in a row from the field. Its opponents took advantage, grabbing the momentum to open up a 10-point lead of their own when they went up 29-19 at 6:24 in the half on a three-pointer by Sam Walters.
The Eagles never lost their composure, however, and went into the paint to open up more shots on the perimeter. They finished the half on a 12-2 run, due largely to Michael Sparks’ eight points in the final three minutes, and led 37-35 at halftime.
CSC built a lead as high as six points in the second half, but the Mavericks’ hot shooting chipped away at that lead gradually throughout the final 20 minutes. The comeback stalled when the Eagles’ Walker Andrewcompleted a four-point play after drawing a foul on a successful three-point try.
When the home team hit another dry spell, however, going more than six minutes without a field goal, the Mavericks took control. Mesa was 4-of-6 from the field and 7-of-9 from the foul line under the five-minute mark, as the Eagles were unable to maintain the same pace of scoring.
The two Mavs who hit 20 points were the conference’s new leading scorer Connor Nichols, who ended up with 22, and Tommy Nuno, who was 9-of-14 from the field to record 20. Walters was the team’s other player in double-digits, with 11.
For Chadron State, a player double-doubled for the second night in a row, as Jeremy Ruffin shot 5-of-6 from the field to finish with 13 points and 10 boards. Diontae Champion led the Eagles in scoring with 14 to complete his fifth consecutive double-figure game.
CSC was an impressive 10-of-11 from the free throw line, but got only two tries in the first half.
The Eagles get a bit of a break from training and competition to enjoy time with their families. The next games for the CSC men are Friday, January 4, and Saturday, January 5, at home versus Adams State University and Fort Lewis.