The Chadron State College men’s basketball team held a slim lead at halftime, but the homestanding University of Colorado Colorado Springs Mountain Lions took charge in the second, shooting over 60 percent from the field and making 8-of-15 three-pointers in an 87-68 final in Colorado Springs Saturday evening.
Chadron State led for more than half of the first period, when there were 10 lead changes and eight ties. The Eagles went into halftime on top 37-35 after both teams scored on exactly 13 field goal tries and four three-pointers. The difference was two extra foul line shots and two extra baskets made for CSC.
Neither team led by more than two possessions in the first half.
In the second, UCCS went on a 30-7 run that consumed nine minutes and was punctuated by a dunk by the Mountain Lions’ Alijah Comithier at 8:09. That put UCCS up 71-49 and the home team’s lead remained between 19 and 24 for the remainder of the game.
Despite a large advantage in free throw shooting in the second half, the Eagles gave up 13 more buckets than they made, and more than half of those were from long range.
According to statistics provided by UCCS, the Mountain Lions made transitions their main advantage in the game, scoring 24 more points than CSC on fast breaks.
Comithier, a guard for UCCS, finished with a game-high 24 points, on 9-of-12 shooting, and tied for his team’s lead with six rebounds. Australian freshman Jezza McKenzie scored 17 to follow, while Jo’Nil Fugett was good for 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting including a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. Fugett added eight assists and six boards.
For the Eagles, CJ Jennings was 3-of-6 from three and finished with 14 points and a team-high six rebounds. Mason Hiemstra added 11 points.
Next week is rivalry week for CSC as the Eagles host Black Hills State University on Tuesday, and travel to Rapid City on Thursday for a midweek game at South Dakota Mines. Look for information on Monday about a ticket discount at Mines for Thursday.