For the second consecutive game, Chadron State College men’s basketball went to overtime with a top Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference program, coming up short, as the Eagles lost to Westminster College 93-86 in Salt Lake City on Friday to fall to 6-8 (4-4 RMAC) on the season.
Unlike CSC’s previous game, however, when Fort Lewis came back from six points down to force extra minutes, the Eagles were the ones to punch their ticket to the bonus period. Brady Delimont, Colby Jackson, and Diontae Champion combined for 11 points in the final 27 seconds of regulation to send the game to the five-minute overtime period.
“We executed down the stretch,” said CSC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Houston Reed. “Down three, we ended up with a foul and another technical for five free throws. We went 3-of-5 and weren’t able to close the deal in overtime.”
Westminster led for a solid 14:32 in the first half, but the lead was broken with a Michael Sparks layup at 5:54 until halftime. The Eagles held a 27-26 lead going into the midpoint break.
Five lead changes and four ties ensued in the second half.
Westminster grabbed its biggest lead at 61-53 with 4:02 to play, and both teams found an offensive burst. The hosts still led 70-64 with 27 seconds remaining, but clutch shooting by Jackson and Delimont in the final seconds gave the Eagles possession of the ball, down 75-72, with less than two seconds on the clock.
In an unlikely series of events, Champion drew a shooting foul from the outside arc, and simultaneously the Griffins incurred a technical foul. The Eagles had five shots from the free throw line to overcome a three-point deficit.
Jackson hit one shot on the technical foul penalty, and Champion hit two of three, sending the game to a five-minute overtime period.
Although the Eagles led the game’s overall turnover battle 19-15, the Griffins capitalized on three CSC giveaways within the first four minutes of overtime, converting them in to six points. That was mostly the difference in the game as Westminster drained 12 of 16 buckets from the foul line in overtime to seal the win.
“For anyone who watched the game,” said Reed, “we missed multiple shots around the rim that we’re capable of making. We have to collect ourselves and see if we can get one back tomorrow night. They made more shots than we did.”
WC guard Brandon Warr was 8-of-12 from the field, 4-of-5 from three-point range, and 9-for-10 from the charity stripe, to lead the Griffins with 29 points. Forward Jacob McCord added 17 points and led his team with 12 rebounds.
Chadron State was led by Champion, who finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
The Eagles travel north to visit the Dixie State University Trailblazers on Saturday. The newest RMAC member, in St. George, Utah, announced on Friday that it had accepted an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference in NCAA Division I.