SAN JUAN, P.R. – After falling behind early, the Chadron State College men’s basketball team won big in San Juan on Saturday, downing the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras, 79-65, for its second win in as many days in the Puerto Rico Classic.
With CSC’s third consecutive win, it improved to 3-4 this season, all in non-conference play.
“Today our effort was great,” said CSC Head Men’s Basketball Shane Paben. “Everybody stepped up on our team. They did a great job finding ways to help our team. Every individual is given credit for that. We still have some things to work on, of course, but this was a total team effort.
The Roosters went on a 9-3 run to begin the game, before a layup by CSC’s Beau Bragg cut it to a four point difference at 16:30. Then, the Eagles put together an 11-2 run of their own, with CJ Jennings pitching in seven and Marcus Jefferson drawing a charge on defense during the sequence.
At 13:45, the Eagles took the lead on a Jennings three-pointer, and CSC never trailed again in the game.
The CSC lead grew to as many as eight in the first half, on a bucket by KJ Harris at the 7:30 mark, matching its 34-26 halftime advantage.
The Eagles needed less than three minutes in the second to score seven of the half’s first eight points, ballooning their lead to 15. Later, they led by as many as 23 after a Tejaun Hale “and-one” play at the 12:30 mark made it 63-40.
The Roosters’ leading scorer, Adrian Ocasio, who sat the final 11 minutes of the first half, kept things interesting down the stretch, scoring 9 of his 20 points in the final 12 minutes of the game to chip away at the CSC lead. At just under four minutes to play, UPRRP closed to within 72-61, but Jefferson and Jennings both sank a pair of foul shots, and Brady Delimont sank a late trey to preserve the 79-65 victory.
The Roosters were held to just 4-of-17 from long range, with starters Ocasio and Elvin Vega both shooting 0-of-4.
Turnovers once again played a big role in the game for the Eagles, who were plus-15 in the points off turnover battle.
For CSC, Jennings finished with a game-high 21 points, behind a perfect 10-for-10 performance at the line. The Eagles all shot well from the charity stripe, none missing more than two shots, for a 77 percent clip as a team.
KJ Harris, with 14 points on 6-of-8 field goals, and Beau Bragg with 11 points, were the other two in double figures for CSC.
Jennings not only led CSC in points, but he also grabbed six rebounds and dished out seven assists in the win.
Ocasio was both the game’s high scorer and his team’s leading rebounder, grabbing eight boards.
Chadron State remains in San Juan for another day to play the University of Sacred Heart (P.R.) on Sunday at 9 a.m. MT, or noon local time. Games are broadcast by Dave Collins for 97.5 FM Double Q Country in Chadron. In addition, a live stream was added on Saturday via Facebook. Links for both will be on the CSC men’s basketball schedule page at ChadronEagles.com
Chadron State—CJ Jennings 21, KJ Harris 14, Beau Bragg 11, Marcus Jefferson 9, Teddy Parham, Jr. 8, Tejaun Hale 7, Taj Toney 6, Brady Delimont 3. Totals: 26-58 (7-21) 20-26, 79 points, 27 rebounds, 16 assists, 10 turnovers.
UPR-Rio Piedras—Adrian Ocasio 20, Neftely Acevedo 14, Gian Rivera 11, Eric Velzquez 8, Emmanuel Marrero 5, Nathan Matos 4, Alexander Matos 3. Totals: 21-48 (4-17) 19-26, 65 points, 31 rebounds, 15 assists, 16 turnovers.