CHADRON – Five Chadron State Eagles scored in double figures, two more added nine and another eight Friday night while taking a 90-75 victory over the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in a hotly-contested, fast-paced Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game.
The victory was the fourth in a row for the Eagles, who are 10-8 overall and 8-4 in conference.
A crowd of 854 was in attendance at the Chicoine Center for the Eagles’ win over the Mountain Lions, marking the highest official audience for a men’s game in the nearly five-year-old arena. The previous facility attendance record of 845 came in a December 11, 2015, clash with rival Black Hills State University.
The outcome snapped the Mountain Lions’ 10-game winning streak, nine of them RMAC contests that have vaulted them into second place in the standings. They are 12-6 for the season and 9-3 in the league.
CSC Coach Houston Reed said he was extremely proud of his players’ teamwork and ability to make clutch shots down the stretch. He added that because several Eagles were ill during the week, the team had a tough week of practice, but displayed the mental toughness to get a huge victory.
The Eagles saved their best for last.
They trailed by up to eight points in the early going, but led 39-35 at halftime. After the Eagles went ahead 49-39 in the first 3 ½ minutes of the second half, the Mountain Lions used their quick-strike capabilities to tie the score at 56 midway through the half. But they never took the lead.
The Eagles were ahead by only 70-65 with 4:20 remaining, but outscored the visitors 20-10 the rest of the way. Two three-pointers by Michael Sparks, a jumper by Jaisean Jackson and a tipin by Adoum Mbang off a pass from Jackson on an out-of-bounds play with one second remaining on the shot clock were among Chadron State’s big shots down the stretch.
The Eagles were 31-of-61 from the field, including 9-of-14 from behind the arc. They were just 7-of-14 at the foul line in the first half, then sank 12 of 15 in the second half.
Sparks led CSC with 15 points. Jackson and Jeremy Ruffin each had 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Charles Gavin contributed 11 points, Jordan Mills 10, Mbang and Brady Delimont nine apiece and Diontae Champion eight.
Also for the Eagles, point guard Colby Jackson scored just two points, but handed out eight assists.
For Colorado Springs, senior Elijah Ross, a first-team all-conference selection last year who missed seven games this season because of a leg injury, proved he’s healthy again by scoring a game-high 23 points. Freshman DaRaun Clark added 16 points and Dalton Walker 10.
The Lions were 24 of 57 (42.1 percent) from the field, including 12 of 29 from behind the arc, and went 15 of 23 at the free throw line.
The Eagles are home again Saturday, hosting Colorado Mines, which boosted its conference record to 12-0 by winning at MSU Denver 77-71 Friday night.