The Chadron State College men’s basketball team fought hard until the final whistle, but despite outscoring its opponent from Black Hills State University 63 to 53 from the floor, the Yellow Jackets’ free throw shots overwhelmed the Eagles. CSC trailed by only four with 10 seconds remaining, but could not find the right formula to complete the comeback, in a 77-71 final on Senior Night in Chadron.
BHSU went to the line 36 times, versus CSC’s 10. Fourteen of those tries came in the final minute when the Eagles’ imperative was to stop the game clock, but the Yellow Jackets still led 22 to 8 in tries from the foul line going into the home stretch. Chadron State finished shooting 9-for-10 for the night, while Black Hills was 24-for-36.
“Our gameplan was to try and keep them off the line tonight,” said CSC Head Men’s Basketball Coach Houston Reed. “Some of those fouls came when we were giving them second opportunities. We gave up 11 offensive rebounds, and that’s brutal. You give up open threes and fouls when you do that.”
“It came down to several shots we didn’t make,” added Reed, “that we were more than capable of making.”
The game was tied at the half, 34-34. CSC led 48-41 just before the 10-minute mark in the second period, opening up its largest lead of the game.
That’s when the visitors got hot from three, draining three straight and drawing a foul in between for another three points from the charity stripe. The Yellow Jackets turned those fortunes into a 25-9 run putting them at their largest lead, 66-57, with 1:45 showing.
During that span, the Eagles were 4-of-11 from the floor and drew only two on-the-floor whistles to go without a shot at the line.
A pair of Colby Jackson three-pointers and one by senior forward Jeremy Ruffin allowed CSC to keep hope alive all the way to the end, but BHSU did just enough at the foul line to put the game away in the final 30 seconds.
For the winners, Dez Stoudamire shot 5-of-8 from the field, 2-of-4 from the arc, and poured in 11-of-15 free throws to lead his team with 23 points. Stefan Desnica added 20 on 8-of-11 shooting including 4-of-8 from three.
Senior Diontae Champion led the Eagles with 21 points, eight boards, and two blocked shots. He made seven of the Eagles’ nine foul shots.
Chadron State is now 11-14 overall and 9-10 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.
CSC’s remaining schedule is on the road. Next weekend the team visits Colorado State University-Pueblo on Friday and New Mexico Highlands University on Saturday. Both teams lost twice this weekend on the road at RMAC regular season champ Colorado School of Mines and UCCS. CSUP is eliminated from postseason contention, while NMHU is in seventh place in the RMAC, two games ahead of the Eagles.
The Eagles’ season finale is at MSU Denver, who defeated both of the South Dakota schools by 20 points in Denver this weekend. They are one game behind Chadron State, tied for 10th.