By: Kaleb Center, CSC Sports Information Director
The Chadron State College men's basketball team rallied hard in the second half on Saturday but came up a couple possessions short in a 73-67 loss in Chadron.
The Eagles shot 30 percent in the first half, and they gave up 12 first half turnovers, and yet they still managed to be in the game down to the wire, thanks to a crafty defense.
CSC kept the score respectable, at a single-digit margin, through the first eight minutes, before a 14-3 run by the Griffins made it 32-14 at 4:51 in the first. Senior forward Ryan Bell had a hand in 6 of the 14 points through that stretch.
Westminster scored the last 11 points of the half, hitting its last three from long range, to go into halftime up 43-22.
In the second half, CSC turned the tables on field goal shooting, turnovers, and offensive boards, reaching its lowest deficit of six points on four different occasions. Freshman guard Gage Delimont helped to keep the second-half output by the Griffins down to 30, taking a charge with around eight minutes remaining.
Senior guard Matt Kitzman effectively kept the Grifins in the driver's seat, hitting a three-pointer and four free throws in the final two and a half minutes. The only other point down the stretch came from freshman forward Lewis Johnson, who hit a free throw with 23 seconds remaining to seal the final score.
Kitzman was the leading scorer for the Griffins with 15 points, and he also led his team with nine rebounds.
Senior forwards Braydon Johnson and Yusef Mohamed went for 11 points, eight boards, and 10 points, seven rebounds, respectively, to round out the Griffins production.
CSC junior guard Marcus Jefferson led the game with 16 points, on 3-for-5 three-point shooting, while accruing a game-high four steals.
Junior guard KJ Harris hit half of his shots from beyond the arc, finishing with 14 points and a game-high six assists in a full 40 minutes of play.
CSC is on the road January 14 and 15 at Fort Lewis and Western Colorado before heading to Spearfish, South Dakota on Tuesday, January 18.