(Neb)-Eagles Top Roadrunners 76-67
CHADRON, Neb. -- Led by 16 points and eight rebounds from Diontae Champion, the Chadron State Eagles were impressive from the three-point arc while holding their opponents, the visiting Metropolitan State University of Denver Roadrunners, to just 2-of-16 from the perimeter in a 76-67 win at the Chicoine Center Saturday.
The Eagles had lost 12 straight and 36 of their last 37 to Metro State and had never beaten them in Chadron. Their only other victory in that span was in Denver in February 2012 under then-coach Brent Bargen, the first time they'd won there in 17 years.
Eight lead changes and seven ties characterized an evenly fought first half. While the Eagles opened up the contest 8-of-14 from three-point range, the Roadrunners held their own by sinking eight of nine from the free throw line.
Chadron State's momentum surged late in the first half when Walker Andrew drained his only try from three, with about five minutes remaining. He then laid another bucket in 40 seconds later to give the Eagles the lead going into the half. Michael Sparks' three at 2:54 in the period put CSC up by the largest margin either side had enjoyed, up to that point, at 32-27.
The home team went into the locker room up 35-33 at the midpoint.
In the second half, the Eagles cooled slightly from long range, but out-rebounded their opponents 27 to 22. They continued to press the perimeter and shot 7-for-15 inside the arc while building a lead as large as 70-53 with little more than four minutes to play.
In order to produce a 26-10 run late in the game, CSC relied on 20 points from its bench. Brady Delimont hit back-to-back threes and Adoum Mbang was a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line in the second half, as the Eagles raced out their most commanding lead of the night.
MSU Denver needed seven late points from leading scorer Druce Asah, who finished with 17, along with a buzzer-beater by Elijah Straughter, to edge the score back to a single-digit margin.
The CSC bench outscored the Roadrunners' backups 41 to 14. Junior point guard Colby Jackson, coming off the bench in his season debut after a preseason injury, poured in eight points and led the Eagles with five assists.
Just over five minutes into the game, CSC suffered a casualty on the court, as senior starting forward Jeremy Ruffin went sliding across the court for a loose ball and into the front row of bleachers taking a hit to the shoulder. He had five points already to that point, including the Eagles' first three-pointer.
In the league opener for both teams, Chadron State improved to 3-4 overall, and 1-0 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play. MSU Denver went to 1-3 (0-1 RMAC).
Chadron State travels to Denver next weekend to play Colorado Christian in the Lakewood suburb south of town on Friday, December 7. On Saturday they play again just 10 miles to the north at Regis University. When the two squads met Saturday, Regis claimed the evening's biggest victory margin in the conference at CCU, winning 84-67. The victor in that game was picked to win the RMAC title by coaches in the preseason, while the loser was picked to finish last.
Chadron State 35 41 ---76
MSU Denver 33 34 ---67
Chadron State--Dionte Champion 16, Brady Delimont 14, Adoum Mbang 10, Walker Andrew 9, Michael Sparks 8, Colby Jackson 8, Jeremy Ruffin 5, Jaisean Jackson 5, Charles Gavin 1. Totals: 22-53 (11-24) 21-30 76 points, 39 rebounds, 17 turnovers.
MSU Denver--Druce Asah 17, Kendall McIntosh 11, Garrett Carter 10, Jaryn Taylor 8, Jacob Inclan 7, Enrique Cortes Zotes 5, Demetrius Jackson 3, Marcus Jefferson 2, Elijah Straughter 2, Cain van Heyningen 2. Totals: 24-59 (2-16) 17-29 67 points, 39 rebounds, 16 turnovers.
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