CHADRON, Neb. – December 15, 2018 – The Chadron State College men’s basketball team put up a convincing 77-58 win over the visiting Western Colorado Mountaineers in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action on Saturday. The Eagles improved to 5-5 (3-1 RMAC) while Western fell to 4-7 overall, and 0-4 in league play.
“We won defensively,” said CSC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Houston Reed. “Quincy Harding, the guy who leads our conference in scoring, was held to six points tonight. We have to do some things better, but our defensive mindset was on point. The thing about being a defensive-minded team is, you have to have a lot of trust with each other. It portrays the type of group we have here.”
The Eagles had their full roster of players at the ready for the first time this season, with senior Jeremy Ruffinreturning from a shoulder injury and junior Jordan Mills able to make it back from a hamstring injury. Ruffin started the game, and the pair combined to shoot 4-for-7 from the floor with Mills hitting an early three to set the tone for the evening. Freshman Kayden Sund also participated for the first time after re-gaining eligibility.
The Western men led for a little over two minutes, cumulatively, and all of their lead came during the opening possessions, before CSC gained control for good at the 13:37 mark in the first half.
Although Chadron State led for most of the first half, neither side was able to gain much of an upper-hand until the final four minutes the period. The Mountaineers, who crashed the boards in the first 20 minutes to keep control of the ball, did just enough to keep up with the Eagles, pulling within a single possession several times.
CSC turned momentum decidedly in its favor with four minutes until halftime. Charles Gavin had a pair of quick buckets in the post, and a three-point play by Michael Sparks led to a 14-5 run put the Eagles up 40-28 going into the locker room.
Chadron State built its lead to as many as 20 points in the second half. Both teams’ field goal percentages cooled after the break, but a big key for the Eagles was their 16-of-19 performance from the free throw line. They were in the double-bonus from before the eight-minute mark, until the end of the game.
Senior Adoum Mbang was a major part of CSC’s cruise to the finish, hitting all six of his free throws in the second half. He cemented the first double-double as an Eagle on the Mountaineers’ last offensive possession, when he cradled his 10th rebound to go with his 10 points.
Sparks led CSC with 19 points, hitting 6-of-7 from the foul line and 3-of-5 from long range.
Senior Diontae Champion added 15 points and led the team with three steals.
As Coach Reed alluded to, the Chadron State defense limited Quincy Harding, who averaged a league-best 22.1 points per game ahead of Saturday, to just six points in the game. It also kept the Mountaineers’ second and third-leading scorers, Brady Subart and Jaire Roberts, under their season averages as well. Subart had eight and Roberts, the only Mountaineer in double-digits, led his team with 11.
Chadron State is now one of five teams in the conference which has lost either only once or not at all. The Eagles host Colorado Mesa University (7-3, 2-2 RMAC) on Sunday following the CSC women’s game at 3:30 p.m. Mesa won at Western by seven two weeks ago, and lost at MSU Denver on Saturday by five.