LAREDO, Texas — November 8, 2019 — The host Texas A&M International men’s basketball team never trailed Friday night while downing the Chadron State College Eagles 75-65 in the season-opener for both teams.
A three-pointer by Jacob Pfaffinger with four minutes left in the first half broke a 24-24 tie, and the Dustdevils never allowed the Nebraska team to catch up again. Neither did the hosts runaway and hide. The biggest lead was 13 points with three minutes left to play.
Turnovers were a major factor in the outcome. Chadron State committed 24 of them that International converted into 29 points. The Eagles tallied just 13 points off the Texas team’s 15 turnovers.
Caleb Highley, a 6-8 senior, led International with 22 points and nine rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Birt added 16 points and four steals while another 6-8 senior, Dominic Jackson, contributed 15 points and six rebounds.
Chadron State was led by senior transfer Brian Rodriguez, who came off the bench to score 21 points and grab seven rebounds. Point guard Colby Jackson scored 11 points, but was guilty of eight turnovers. Both center Jacob Jefferson and transfer guard Stephon Bell added 10 points. Bell also collected a game-high 11 rebounds for a double-double his first game in an Eagles uniform.
The Eagles sank 11 of 21 field goal shots, including 5 of 10 from three-point range, in the first half, but shot just eight of 28 from the field and only 2 of 16 from behind the arc in the second half.
International was 14 of 29 from the field in the first half and 10 of 29 in the second half. The Dirtdevils were 6-for-16 on three-point attempts for the game.
The Eagles will play at Texas A&M-Kingsville on Saturday night. The Javelinas edged South Dakota Mines 70-69 on Friday night.
Chadron State–Brian Rodriguez 21, Colby Jackson 11, Jacob Jefferson 10, Stephon Bell 10, Andre Sepeda 6, Michael Sparks 5, Walker Andrew 1, Kenan Gray 1. Totals: 19-49 (7-26) 20-29 65 points, 37 rebounds, 24 turnovers.
Texas A&M International–Caleb Highley 22, Ryan Birt 16, Dominic Jackson 15, Jorge Mejias-Sanchez 7, Tom Higgins 5, Jacob Pfaffinger 5, Calvin Fugett 3, Matija Novkovic 2. Totals: 24-58 (6-16) 21-29 75 points, 30 rebounds, 15 turnovers.
Chadron State 30 35 —-65
Texas A&M Int. 36 39 —-75
3-pointers: CSC–Rodriguez 2, Jefferson 2, Jackson 1, Sparks 1, Sepeda 1. TA&M Int–Jackson 2, Birt 1, Majias-Sanchez 1, Higgins 1, Pfaffinger 1.