CHADRON–The Chadron State College men’s basketball team won one of its biggest games in several years Friday night, downing New Mexico Highlands 80-69. The Cowboys entered the game 12-3 overall and 7-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference while averaging a league-high 89.7 points.
The Eagles are now 8-8 for the season and 6-4 in the conference.
Chadron State had a commanding 38-24 halftime lead, but Highlands scored the first eight points of the second half and took a 50-47 lead with 12 minutes remaining. However, the Eagles fought back, went on a 19-4 run in the next five minutes and were ahead by at least six points the rest of the way.
Coach Houston Reed said the Eagles showed lots of resilience and he called the outcome “a complete team victory.” He noted that Highlands’ press caused his team problems early in the second half, but said players came off the bench and got things back in control.
The Eagles shot exactly 50 percent (28-56) from the field while Highlands hit only 33 percent (22-66) and was five of 33 from 3-point range. The Cowboys were 20-23 from the free throw line while CSC was 17-23. The Eagles out-rebounded the visitors 46-30.
Diontae Champion led the Eagles with 17 points for his 10th consecutive double-figure game. Jeremy Ruffin added 11 points and had a game-high nine rebounds. Both are senior forwards.
Highlands’ Gerad Davis matched his season average with 21 points while Nnandi Okor added 16 and Raquan Mitchell 15.
The Eagles will host Colorado State-Pueblo tonight.