By: Con Marshall
What appeared to be a sure-fire win got away from the Chadron State College men’s basketball team Friday night. The Eagles held a 50-39 halftime lead and were ahead 69-52 midway in the second half before Colorado-Colorado Springs rallied to tie the score at 79-79 with just under three minutes to play.
Already a physical, up-tempo game, the Colorado Springs player who hit the three-pointer to knot the score emphasized his importance. At least one Eagle took offense and considerable pushing and shoving ensued. The referees took more than 10 minutes looking at the video and finally issued a couple of technical fouls and one player and both teams’ assistant coaches who had come off the bench to help break up the encounter were ejected.
When play resumed, Chadron State was awarded two free throws and made one. The Mountain Lions got four foul shots and hit three, putting them ahead for the first time all night, 82-80. They wound up winning 97-87.
CSC Coach Houston Reed said during his post-game interview that the scuffle at the end of the game “was unneeded.”
“Some of the players on both teams didn’t funnel their energy in the right direction,” he added.
The Eagles, who made 20 of 30 shots from the field in the first half for 61 percent, shot 51 percent for the game, including seven of 15 on three-pointers, and were 12 of 16 from the free throw line.
Redshirt freshman Jacob Jefferson hit all three of his three-point attempts while leading the Eagles with 17 points. Diontae Champion added 15 points, Jeremy Ruffin 11, Charles Gavin 10 and Jaisean Jackson and Andrew Walker nine apiece. Point guard Colby Jackson handed out 10 assists.
Colorado Springs shot 47.3 percent from the field, including seven of 14 from afar, and was a whopping 36 of 42 from the free throw line.
The Mountain Lions were 14 of 16 at the line after order was restored late in the game, with junior Padiet Wang making all eight of his free throws and a driving layup in the final minute for 10 of his 19 final points. Altogether he was 13 of 14 at the charity stripe.
Lions’ forward Dalton Walker, who was 11 of 13 at the line, led all scorers with 24 points and Isaiah Wilson added 21.
The Eagles, who beat Colorado Springs 90-75 at home two weeks ago, have lost five games in a row and are 10-13 for the season and 8-9 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.