(Neb.)-Hardrockers Win Triple Thriller In Chicoine
CHADRON, Neb. -- February 24, 2018 -- A ticket to the basketball games Saturday night in the Chicoine Center at Chadron State College was worth more than face value, as the Eagles men's basketball team played a three-overtime basketball bonanza against South Dakota Mines, just following an overtime win by the CSC ladies.
Unfortunately for the men, the final outcome was not what they desired, having to settle at last for a crushing 88-85 decision in favor of the Hardrockers after 55 minutes of play.
"These guys have played their butts off all season long," said coach Houston Reed. "We all know on paper it's been a rough year, and these guys haven't cashed it in once. That says a lot about them. Same thing tonight - I'm really proud of their effort. Like much of the story, we just needed one more play tonight."
The story of the first half was timely three-point shooting by the Eagles. Both Jeremy Ruffin and Matt Reader hit their first shots from beyond the arc all season, and Jaisean Jackson drained his first since December. Together with Leigh Saffin's first half trey, all four occurred in a four-minute stretch late in the first half as CSC went 4-for-8 from long range.
The last six minutes of that half saw five lead changes and five ties, and the Hardrockers went into halftime up 39-38.
The Eagles suffered a six minute field goal drought early in the second half, which gave South Dakota Mines a double digit lead, however, Chadron State chipped back into the game thanks to a steady dose of inside play from the CSC big men. Ruffin, Reader, Adoum Mbang, and Michael Johnson went to work in the comeback bid, scoring nine points in the final 7:18 of regulation and drawing four fouls from the Hardrockers' Logan Elers to send him to the bench with five.
However, the play of the game went to Jackson, who raced down the court with time about to expire on the second half, and drained his second trey of the game, and fourth of the season, to set the stage for overtime.
In the extra periods, the teams each scored seven in the first and four in the second. Chadron State looked to be cruising to the win in the first extra measure, before missing four straight shots and giving up 3-of-4 to the opponent.
Jackson hit his third three-pointer of the game in the first overtime, put down all four of the Eagles' points in the second, and recorded seven more points in the final five minute period, but CSC could not recover from three turnovers leading to consecutive three-pointers by the Hardrockers which clinched the game.
Chadron State finished at 3-24, with a 1-21 record in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Hardrockers concluded the season at 8-19 (5-17 RMAC).
(Courtesy Chadron State College)
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