CHADRON – The Chadron State College men’s basketball team will be spending this weekend playing in the Westminster College Thanksgiving Tournament in Salt Lake City, where it will meet a pair of Frontier Conference teams.
The Eagles, who are 0-2 so far, will take on Montana Tech at 5 p.m. Friday and tourney host Westminster at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Westminster, in particular, is expected to be a tough opponent. The Griffins are already 6-1 and have soundly defeated a pair of Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams—Fort Lewis 83-63 and Western State 95-53.
Montana Tech is 3-3 this season. The Orediggers’ wins include a 78-68 decision over South Dakota Mines. They also have beaten Corban University of Oregon 75-50 and Evergreen State of Washington 74-54, but have lost to Division I opponent Idaho State 71-41, Embry-Riddle of Florida 73-69 and Eastern Oregon 77-60.
Montana Tech is coached by Aaron Woliczko, who is in his third season at Butte. The Orediggers were 6-22 his first year and finished 11-15 last season.
The team’s leading scorer is 6-foot-7 sophomore Adam Greger, who averaged 12.3 points last season and is averaging 16 so far this season. Next in line is 6-3 Bryan Bock, who is averaging 13 points this season after scoring about eight points a game a year ago.
Quinn Smith, a 6-9 freshman, is highly regarded. He is averaging just under 10 points a game and scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the loss to Eastern Oregon.
The Westminster coach is Adam Hiatt, who played for the Griffins and was an assistant before taking the head job a year ago. Westminster was 21-11 in 2011-12.
Besides the lopsided wins over Fort Lewis and Western State, the Griffins have defeated Northern New Mexico 76-67, Vanguard 77-56, Walla Walla 85-44 and College of Idaho 68-50. Their lone loss was 88-81 to Westmont.
Vanguard and Westmont are California schools; Walla Walla is in Washington.
Westminster also lost 89-85 to New Mexico Highlands in an exhibition game prior to playing at Northern New Mexico.
The Griffins appear to have a balanced attack with four players averaging in double figures, led by 6-0 junior guard Blake Skidmore at 12.1 points. Another guard, 5-11 Colton Moon, is averaging 10.1 points after canning 19 of 36 3-pointers. Oddly, Moon is just eight of 15 from the free throw line.
CSC head coach Brent Bargen said Colorado State, which led 43-13 at halftime and defeated the Eagles 93-50 in Fort Collins last week, is “a really good team that is big and physical and beat us up.”
The coach also said that he was happy that the Eagles played better in the second half and he believe they learned how hard they need to play. He added that the Eagles have practiced well since that game and he hopes they continue to grow.
Both CSC teams will open their RMAC schedules Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at home against Colorado Mesa and Western State. After those games, neither of the Eagles’ quintets will play in Armstrong Gymnasium again until Jan. 4.
The CSC women are idle during Thanksgiving weekend.