DURANGO, Colo. — January 4, 2020 — The promising Chadron State College men’s basketball team, which had lost so many heart-breakers this season, upset the Fort Lewis Skyhawks 83-71 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action Saturday night in Durango.
Chadron State entered the game with a 2-10 record while Fort Lewis was 10-2, but the Eagles led all the way after Brian Rodriguez hit one of their dozen three-pointers for an 8-7 lead with 16:21 remaining in the opening half.
Even though the Skyhawks scored the final five points of the first half, the Eagles led 38-24 at halftime, went ahead by 21 points (47-26) when Jacob Jefferson tallied all nine of Chadron State’s points in the first three minutes of the second half and maintained at least a double-digit led the rest of the way.
It was Chadron State’s first win of the season on the road and their first victory over Fort Lewis since 2006. The Skyhawks had prevailed in all 14 games in the series since then, including an overtime win in Chadron a year ago, but the Eagles finally snapped the string.
The triumph is probably the “biggest” in Coach Houston Reed‘s four-year tenure at Chadron State, particularly on the road.
“I am really pleased with the win,” Reed said. “Our guys have worked so hard and finally got a payday for that work. We finally busted out after losing four games by three or fewer points and another in overtime this year.”
“We hit shots when we really needed them tonight,” Reed continued, “and we also played good defense. There are still things we have to do better. We’ll need that mindset coming back home.”
The Eagles made 30 of 69 (43.5 percent) field goal shots, including a 12 of 34 three-pointers and 11 of 14 free throws, including five of six in the final 68 seconds after the Skyhawks began intentionally fouling.
Fort Lewis was 23 of 59 (39 percent) from the field, including seven of 23 from behind the arc, and was 18 of 30 at the foul line.
Both Rodriguez and Michael Sparks scored 18 points to pace the Eagles while Jefferson and Walker Andrew each finished with 11. Andrew also claimed a game-high nine rebounds. Point guard Colby Jackson added nine points and handed out 13 assists, just one behind Bret Bondegard’s school record.
Chadron State was credited with 24 assists, twice the Fort Lewis total, and out-rebounded the hosts 45-38.
The Skyhawks were led in scoring by 6-foot-9 Riley Farris with 23 points, keeping his string of having scored at least 20 points in every game this winter alive. Freshman Akuel Kot was the Hawks’ only other double-figure scorer with 13.
Now 2-5 in the RMAC, Chadron State will host the two Utah teams in the conference, Westminster and Dixie State, this coming weekend.
Chadron State–Brian Rodriguez 18, Michael Sparks 18, Walker Andrew 11, Jacob Jefferson 11, Colby Jackson 9, Kevin DiMarco 6, Kenan Gray 4, Andre Sepeda 3, Brady Delimont 3. Totals: 30-69 (12-34) 11-14 83 points, 45 rebounds, 8 turnovers.
Fort Lewis–Riley Farris 23, Aduel Kot 13, Brendan Boatwright 9, Junior Garbrah 8, Will Wittman 6, Logan Hokanson 6, Brendan LaRose 4, Danny Garrick 2. Totals: 23-59 (7-23) 18-30, 71 points, 38 rebounds, 10 turnovers.
Chadron State 38 45 —-83
Fort Lewis 24 47 —-71
3-pointers: CSC–Rodriguez 4, Sparks 3, Andrew 1, Jefferson 1, Jackson 1, Sepeda 1, Delimont 1. FLC–Farris 2, Wittman 2, Kot 2, Hokanson 1.