Fourth-ranked Colorado School of Mines came into the Chicoine Center and played a disciplined game, making few mistakes, as they dealt the Chadron State College men their second loss to a ranked opponent in as many games on Sunday evening in Chadron. The Orediggers shot exactly 50 percent from both inside and outside the arc for a 79-63 win.
“We didn’t make the winning plays,” said CSC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Shane Paben, “and Mines did. That’s about it.”
“We’re not that far away, though,” he added. “Yes, we lost by 16, but you just have to start learning how to win, when you haven’t been winning. Well get there. We’ll be an NCAA tournament team. It might not be this year, but we’ll get there. Playing ranked teams is a good litmus test for us. Obviously, we’re not the number four team in the country right now, but if we learn from this, we’ll be fine.”
The Eagles improved their accuracy to 52 percent from two, and 50 percent from three, in the second half, but they were unable to overcome an 11-point halftime deficit.
Foul trouble kept CSC big men Jacob Jefferson and Kayden Sund on the bench for 27 of the 40 potential first-half minutes the pair might have played. Meanwhile, the Orediggers did most of their damage in the paint while shutting down the lane to the smaller Eagles lineup.
Chadron State briefly led for two minutes in the middle of the first period, but Mines’ senior guard Kobi Betts erased that advantage with a four-point play with 10 minutes to play in the half.
In the second, both Jeffersons – Jacob and Marcus – teamed up to score 11 in the first six and a half minutes, cutting the Eagles’ deficit to as low as seven at one point. Chadron State won the battle in the paint 20 to 12 in the second half, however Mines’ adjusted to take advantage of the perimeter, where the Orediggers were 5-for-7 in the final 20 minutes.
CSM’s junior forward Brendan Sullivan was 8-for-12 overall, 4-for-5 for three, and 5-for-5 at the line, while Betts added six boards and five assists to his 21-point night. Senior big man Michael Glen pitched in an eight-point, nine-rebound, four-assist night to lead Mines in the post.
For Chadron State, four of five starters finished with double-digit points. Teddy Parham, Jr., went 6-for10 from the field and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the three-point line, drawing a team-high four fouls. Marcus Jefferson added 13 points, while Jacob Jefferson and Psalm Maduakor each recorded 11 points, six rebounds.
Mines won on the glass 34 to 26, and took the turnover battle, with only 13 giveaways to CSC’s 18. The Orediggers fouled only 15 times to CSC’s 24.
Senior guard Brady Delimont, who had been the Eagles’ leading three-point shooter and was 44 percent on all field goals entering the game, left early in the second half with an injury and did not return. He recorded all but about three minutes in the first half and played the first five and a half minutes in the second.
Chadron State returns to home court Monday to face the Regis University Rangers, who are 1-2 in the conference with a 23-point loss at home to Colorado School of Mines and a 10-point loss to Black Hills State on Sunday. They defeated South Dakota Mines at home by 38 on December 5.