After not playing at home since December 4, the Chadron State College basketball teams will open the 2018 portion of their schedules by hosting Colorado Mesa and Western State in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action this weekend.
The Mesa Mavericks will visit the Chicoine Center on Friday night and the Western State Mountaineers will be in town Saturday night. Both double-headers will start at 5:30 with the women’s games.
The Eagles are hoping the home court presence will help them find success. Neither team has won since CSC swept Colorado Christian in the final games prior to hitting the road for the remainder of December. Both CSC teams are 3-11 overall and 1-7 in the conference.
One thing, in particular, will help the men’s team. It was forced to make the long trip to play Fort Lewis and Adams State last weekend while closing out the 2017 games on its schedule with only seven players available. The Eagles expect to have nearly a full contingent available this weekend.
Five team members missed the bus, two because of illness, two because of long trips home for Christmas and not getting back to the campus in time and one because he was still catching up on his coursework after he’d returned to his home in Africa for about a month for a family matter.
CSC coach Houston Reed said most of the absent players are practicing this week and should be available this weekend. An exception is sophomore forward Michael Johnson, who has an ulcer and at last report was still at his home in Bermuda, Reed added.
The Mesa women have been the more successful of the two teams that will visit this weekend.
The Maverick women are 10-3 overall and 4-3 in the RMAC. They won all six of their non-conference games and have won each of four conference games by at least 20 points, but have lost to Fort Lewis (57-51), CSU-Pueblo (67-60) and Metro State (69-65).
Three Mesa women are scoring in double digits. Guards Jaylyn Duran and Erin Reichle are averaging 15.1 and 14.4 points a game, respectively, and six-foot senior center Ma’ata Epensia is averaging 11.4 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Both Duran and Reichle have meshed more than half of their field goals from three-point range. Duran is 44-of-99 from afar and Reichle is 34-of-93, as well as 21-of-22 from the free throw line.
The Mesa men are 6-7 for the season and 2-5 in the RMAC. Their conference wins have been over Western State (86-85) and Adams State (90-87 in overtime). Four Mavs are averaging in double figures, led by juniors Emilio Acedo at 17.4 points a game and Connor Nichols, with 17.3.
The 6-4 Acedo has buried 39-of-85 shots from behind the arc and made 45-of-48 free throws.
The Western State women are 5-8 overall and 2-5 in the conference. Their RMAC wins have been over Adams State (67-53) and Colorado Springs (74-62). Their top scorer is 6-2 freshman Katie Dalton at 10.8 points a game. Five of the team’s remaining top 10 scorers also are freshmen.
The Mountaineers’ men ended 2017 at 4-9 and 2-5 in the RMAC. Their conference wins were over Westminster (79-69) in overtime and Colorado Springs (77-72). Four Western players are averaging at least 12.3 points and each has sunk at least 20 treys.
The scoring pacesetters are 6-4 senior Ben Beauchamp at 16.2 points per game and 6-6 junior Collin Smith at 14.6 points, along with 6.2 rebounds.