Both of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s leading scorers will be visiting the Chadron State Eagles this weekend as the first semester of basketball wraps up.
They are the men’s pacesetter, Western Colorado’s Quincy Harding, at 22.1 points a game, and the women’s leader, Jaylyn Duran of Colorado Mesa, who is averaging 22.3 points.
Besides that, another Mesa Maverick, Conner Nichols, is No. 2 on the men’s scoring list at 21.7 per game.
The Western teams will invade on Saturday night with the women’s game starting at 5:30. The Colorado Mesa quintets will follow on Sunday with the first half of the double-header tipping off at 3:30. All the action will be in the Chicoine Center.
Both of the visiting men’s teams have been ringing up the points. The Mavericks are averaging 88.9 points a game, second in the RMAC, and the Western Mountaineers have been pouring in 82 points a game, fourth highest in the conference.
However, Western’s opponents also have fared well offensively. They are averaging 86.2 points.
The Western men are 3-6 for the season. They lost their conference opener to Mesa 97-90 and fell to Colorado Mines 109-60 and Colorado Springs 103-94 last weekend.
Besides Harding, a 6-3 senior and his 22 points a game, they feature is 6-3 senior Brady Subart, who is averaging 14.8 points and totaled 32 against Fisher College of Boston during a Thanksgiving Classic.
To be sure, the Mountaineers are a big-time 3-point proponent. With Harding and Subart leading the way, they are 91 of 239 (38 percent) from afar while the opponents are 68 of 202 (33.7 percent).
The Mesa men, 7-2 overall and 2-1 in the conference, are shooting 54.9 percent from the field, tops in the RMAC. Nichols, a 6-6 senior, is the real deal. He’ shooting 59 percent from the field and averaging 8.1 rebounds to go with his nearly 22 points a game.
Damon Dubots, a 6-9 senior, is second on the Mavs’ scoring chart at 14.1 points a game.
The Mavericks have scored at least 90 points in six of their nine games. That includes Saturday night, when Colorado Mines came from behind to win 99-94 in overtime in Grand Junction.
Besides the win over Western State, the Mavs slipped past Colorado Springs 89-79 in conference action.
The Mavericks have a new head coach this year. He is Mike DeGeorge, who was the head mentor at Rhodes College in Memphis before landing the Mesa job last spring.
The Western women aren’t particularly prolific scorers, but won their only two non-conference games and are 1-2 since opening conference action. They have a 64-36 victory over Colorado Mines sandwiched around losses of 53-41 to Mesa and 65-59 to Colorado-Colorado Springs.
Katie Dalton, a 6-2 sophomore, is Western’s top scorer at 11.4 points a game. Samantha Coleman, a 5-9 sophomore, is next at 9.6 a game and has made 10 of her team’s 26 treys.
As a team, the Mesa women aren’t awesome scorers, averaging 64.7 points, eighth best in the conference. But the 5-7 Duran can pump in the points, as her 22.3 average attests. She’s been the Lady Mavs’ top scorer in all seven games with a high of 29 and leads the conference in 3-pointers with 28.
Mesa is 6-1, losing only to Western Oregon 69-64 on Nov 17. Since the conference season opened, besides besting Western, they have tamed the UCCS Lions 67-45 and shaded Colorado Mines 50-45.
The Chadron State men are 4-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play. They are shooting 41.9 percent from the field while their opponents are hitting 41.8 against them. The latter paces the RMAC in field goal defense.
On the other side of the coin, the Eagles are second in the conference in 3-point shooting, making 62 of 153 attempts from behind the arc for 40.5 percent, while the opponents are 45 of 155 from downtown for 29.0 percent.
The Eagles have had balanced scoring. Guard Michael Sparks leads at 14.3 points a game, but six others are averaging at least 7.6.
The CSC women won their season opener against Texas A&M International 55-51, but have lost all eight games since then, including a “hard to swallow” overtime loss to Metro State the last time they played at home. They seem to be cutting down on turnovers, which helps them get more shots, but have lacked consistent scoring.
Rebounding has been a plus. The Lady Eagles are averaging 38.8 a game, 3.5 more than the opponents.