Despite team’s efforts, Eagles finish break 0-8
The Chadron State College men’s basketball team played on the road for six straight games over the academic break, before returning home last weekend for two more. Over the eight games, the team went 0-8.
First traveling to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions and Metropolitan State University of Denver Roadrunners on the weekend before finals week, the Eagles lost two closely contested games.
After a three-pointer with 2:02 left in the game by Vonsinh Sayaloune, sophomore of Chadron, to give the Eagles a two-point lead against the Mountain Lions, UCCS was able to tie the game before taking the lead for good for a six-point win. Sayaloune was the high point man for the Eagles with 12 points while shooting 4-6 from behind the arc.
Against the Roadrunners, the Eagles were able to trim their second half deficit to five with 12 minutes left after Dru Kuxhausen, freshman of Scottsbluff, sank a layup. The Roadrunners answered with a 13-3 run to take a 15-point lead on the way to their 79-67 victory. Kuxhausen was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 28 points while converting 11 of his 13 shots.
Next, traveling to Rapid City, South Dakota to face the Hardrockers of South Dakota School of Mines, the Eagles were down by five at halftime before the Hardrockers caught fire. Eventually leading by 20 points, the Hardrockers won 66-52. Jordan Mills, sophomore of Alliance, was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 10 points.
Facing the Yellowjackets of Black Hills State, Spearfish, South Dakota, the Eagles had multiple chances to take the lead but multiple Yellowjacket runs were too much for the Eagles to overcome. Leading by 17 with 12 minutes left, the Eagles were able to lower the deficit to 8 multiple times, but the Yellowjackets prevailed with a 76-63 victory. Jeremy Ruffin, junior of Chicago, led the team 13 points on 7-9 shooting from the free throw line.
While facing the 21st ranked team in the nation, the Skyhawks of Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado, the Eagles only had seven players suited up due to sickness and travel delays. The team trailed by 10 at halftime before the Skyhawks found their stroke on their way to a 28-point second half lead and a 88-65 victory. Jaisean Jackson, junior of Denver, led the team in scoring with 17 points. Matt Reader, senior of Appleton, Wisconsin had his first career double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Once again with only seven players, the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to the Adams State Grizzlies, Alamosa, Colorado. Leading by eight with 2:30 to play, the Grizzlies clawed back to lower the Eagles lead to one with one minute left. After a turnover and a missed shot, Jarrett Givens, junior of Tempe, Arizona, hit the game winning shot for the Grizzlies with eight seconds left to give them the 75-74 victory. Jackson once again led the team in scoring with 22 points.
While bringing in the new year with their first home games in over a month, the team was unable to stop two RMAC offenses. After leading the first five minutes, the Mavericks from Colorado Mesa, Grand Junction, Colorado, scored eight straight points on their way to a 14-point halftime lead last Friday night. The Eagles were unable to overcome the deficit on the way to a 90-71 loss. Kuxhausen led the team in scoring with 27 points on the night.
On Saturday, facing the Western State Mountaineers from Gunnison, Colorado, the Eagles fell victim to a 15-3 start by the Mountaineers on their way to victory. Despite shooting 51 percent from the field, the Eagles fell 96-72 to end their Christmas break. Kuxhausen led the team with 20 points.
The Eagles travel to Salt Lake City to face the Griffins of Westminster College on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.