Mesa Pulls Away From Eagles In Playoff Game


Despite not shooting well, the Chadron State College men’s basketball team “stayed with” the nationally No. 5 ranked Colorado Mesa Mavericks until about midway in the second half Tuesday night in the opening round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs in Grand Junction.

Mesa led by just 26-23 at halftime and was ahead by only 40-35 with 13 minutes remaining before going on a 10-point run in the next four minutes to get some breathing room from the hustling Eagles. The final score was 67-52.

The Mavericks, now 19-1, shot 60 percent from the field, hitting 25 of 42 shots, besides making all 13 of their free throws. They also had a 38-26 rebounding margin.

Chadron State hit just 30 percent of its field goal attempts, going 19 of 65, but nine of them were 3-pointers. The Eagles’ spunky defense also forced 20 turnovers, a dozen more that the Eagles committed, to help them get 23 more shots from the field than the Mavericks.

Fifteen of the Eagles’ rebounds were offensive and they tallied 13 second chance points.

“We competed our tails off, but just didn’t make enough shots,” Chadron State Coach Shane Paben said. “Our effort and defense kept us in the game for a long time, but we didn’t get enough offense to keep up all the way.”

Mesa was led by 6-foot-7 sophomore Ethan Menzies, who scored just two points in the first half, but scored his team’s first 11 points in the second half and finished with game-high 19 to go with 13 rebounds. Freshman guards Blaise Threatt and Chris Speller added 13 and nine points, respectively, while combining to make seven of eight field goal shots and all seven of their free throws.

Chadron State’s high scorer was junior Deundra Roberson with 11 points, while Brady Delimont and Marcus Jefferson each contributed eight. Both Bryant Jefferson and KJ Harris came up with three steals and Psalm Maduakor was CSC’s top rebounder with five.

The playoff appearance was the Eagles’ first since 2012. During the postgame interview, Parham said his team, now 5-8, made some big strides this season and believes the Eagles have a bright future. The team received a big blow at midseason when leading scorer and rebounder Jacob Jefferson was sidelined by a leg injury.
Mesa will host the remainder of the postseason tournament, beginning Friday night by facing Adams State, a 78-66 winner over Metro State in their first-round matchup in Denver Tuesday night.

The other semifinal games will pit Colorado Mines, which received a first-round bye when South Dakota Mines couldn’t play Tuesday night because of COVID issues, and Black Hills State, a 75-67 winner over Fort Lewis in their opening-round clash.

Chadron State– Deundra Roberson 11, Brady Delimont 8, Marcus Jefferson 8, Teddy Parham 6, Psalm Maduakor 6, Kayden Sund 4, KJ Harris 4, Devin Buderus 3, Bryant Jefferson 2. Totals: 19-65, (9-27) 5-7 52 points, 26 rebounds, 8 turnovers.

Colorado Mesa– Ethan Menjies 19, Blaise Threatt 13, Chris Speller 9, Reece Johnson 7, Jared Small 6, Georgie Dancer 6, Trevor Baskin 4, David Rico 3. Totals: 25-42 (4-12) 13-13 67 points, 38 rebounds, 20 turnovers.

Chadron State 23 29 —52
Colorado Mesa 26 41 —67

3-pointers: CSC–Delimont 2, Maduakor 2, Parham 2, M. Jefferson 1, Roberson 1, Buderus 1. CMU–Speller 1, Johnson 1, Small 1, Rico 1.