Fort Lewis Surges Past Eagles In Conference Opener

Both Fort Lewis and Chadron State missed their first three field goal shots and had two turnovers in the opening 2 ½ minutes of their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference season-opener in Chadron on Saturday night. 

But after both finally scored in the next minute, the visiting Skyhawks went on a 12-0 run and were in command the rest of the way while winning 87-63. 

Fort Lewis was hot and Chadron State was not, particularly in the first half, when the Skyhawks shot 51.4% (19-37) including 6 of 15 on 3-pointers, and the Eagles hit just 32.1% (9-28) from the field and made only one of eight shots from behind the arc.  Complicating Chadron State’s shooting misfortune were 12 turnovers that helped the invaders own a 53-22 halftime bulge.

Thirty-one of the Skyhawks’ points came off turnovers, according to the statkeepers.

The Eagles more than doubled their shooting percentage in the second half, when they were 17 of 26 from the field for 65.4%, but they never got closer than the final 24 points.

The Skyhawks were led by their 6-foot-9 tandem. Senior Riley Farris scored 18 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds, while junior Brenden Boatwright tallied 15 points. Guard Akuel Kot with 10 points was Fort Lewis’ only other double-figure scorer, but four more Skyhawks added at least seven points.

Point guard Marcus Jefferson led the Eagles with 13 points while another guard, CJ Jennings, and freshman post Beau Bragg, who came off the bench, both scored 11.

Because of injuries, the Eagles were forced to open their conference slate without some of their taller players who would have been assigned to defend against Farris and Boatwright. CSC’s injury situation also worsened this week when senior mainstay Brady Delimont suffered a serious knee injury that he said did not occur while he was playing basketball.

Delimont was the Eagles’ leading scorer with 19 points on Sunday, when the team concluded a Thanksgiving weekend trip to Puerto Rico by winning its third straight game there.  CSC is now 4-5 for the season.  Fort Lewis improves to 5-2. Both teams were playing their first RMAC game.

The Eagles will host Western Colorado tonight (Saturday) while Fort Lewis will visit Black Hills State in Spearfish.  Black Hills slipped past Western on Friday night 85-80 in a game that saw Yellow Jackets’ 6-7 junior Joel Scott pour in 50 points and the Mountaineers’ 6-4 sophomore Matt Ragsdale tally 53.      

Scott was 19 of 28 from the field with two treys while Ragsdale made 20 of 25 field goal shots, including five triples.  Ragsdale also made all eight of his free shots while Scott was 10-of-14 at the line. Scott out-rebounded Ragsdale 12-3. 

                Fort Lewis—Riley Farris 18, Brandan Boatwright 15, Akuel Kot 10, Will Wittman 9, Junior Garbrah 9, Corey Seng 7, Dunnell Stafford 7, Jacquees Hobbs 4, Jackson Stapleton 3, Ra’Shon Martinez 2, Brendan LaRose 2, Joey Naccarato 1. Totals: 34-73 (9-27) 10-14 87 points, 39 rebounds, 12 turnovers.
                Chadron State—Marcus Jefferson 13, CJ Jennings 11, Beau Bragg 11, Teddy Parham 8, Gage Delimont 7, Taj-Maal Toney 4, KJ Harris 3, Tejuan Hale 2, Kymani Dunham 2, Olgierd Dmochewicz 2. Totals: 26-54 (3-16) 8-12 63 points, 33 rebounds, 21 turnovers.

                Fort Lewis                53           34           —87
                Chadron State         22           41           —53

3-pointers: FLC—Garbrah 3, Farris 2, Seng, Stafford, Wittman, Stapleton, all 1.  CSC—Jennings,  Parham, Delimont, all 1.        

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