BY: CON MARSHALL
The Chadron State men’s basketball team put up a fight, but fell a few points shy Saturday night while being edged by the Westminster Griffins in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference donnybrook in Salt Lake City. The final score was 76-73.
The Eagles led most of the first half, twice by six points, but after being ahead 26-25 with about three minutes remaining, they were outscored 13-2 in the final four minutes of the half and trailed 37-27 at intermission.
Chadron State turnovers on three consecutive possessions ignited the Griffins’ rally. The game’s leading scorer, 6-foot-2 senior Taylor Miller, figured prominently in the surge. He was credited with steals on two of the turnovers, dunked the ball following the first and made two free throws following the second. He also made both free shots again later in the fateful run.
After the Eagles finally ended their 3 ½-minute dry spell when Bryce Latimer hit a jumper to make the score 34-27 with 1:13 left in the half, Westminster played for a final shot and Jeremy DowDell obliged a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer to put the Griffins ahead by 10.
As the second half opened, the Eagles fought back gallantly. Both Isaiah Wyatt and Jarrett Taylor immediately nailed treys and Wyatt hit another five minutes into the half to cut Westminster’s lead to 41-40. The Eagles were back in the game.
However, it took another 10 minutes before the Eagles took the lead. It finally came when Wyatt drill another triple to put his team ahead 62-61.
From there, the lead changed hands six times. The Eagles’ last lead was at 71-70 with 1:53 to play on Josh Robinson’s put-back. The Griffins’ top scorer for the season, Trey Farrer, answered with a layup that put his team ahead again.
With a minute remaining, Farrer drew a foul and made both free shots. The Eagles failed to score on their next possession. The Griffins got the rebound, tried to run down the clock and were eventually assessed a shot-clock violation, giving the ball to CSC with 13 seconds remaining and down by three points.
The Eagles got off two 3-point shots, one from the right side and the other from straight on, but nether connected. Robinson grabbed the rebound on the second miss and dunked with six seconds remaining. The visitors were still behind 74-73.
When the Griffins put the ball in play, the Eagles fouled Miller, who made both free throws to wrap up the scoring, making him eight-of-eight at the line and giving him a game-high 22 points. Farrer added 16 points and Don Avila 13. Information at the bottom of the box score says Chadron State had 15 turnovers and Westminster scored 19 points off them.
The Griffins had eight turnovers and CSC had got just five points off them.
Wyatt was the Eagles’ top scorer with 17 points and was the game’s leading rebounder with 14. No one else on either team had more than eight caroms and that was Wyatt’s teammate MJ Foust. CSC center Porter Anderson used his strength to post 14 points and Latimer had 10.
The Eagles played most of the game with Robinson, their budding standout, on the bench. He was called for two quick fouls at both the start of the first half and the second half.
The loss was the Eagles’ third during the past week. They are now 8-7 for the season and 5-4 in the RMAC. Westminster is 5-10 and 4-5.
After playing their last four games on the road, the Eagles will host Fort Lewis and Adams State this weekend.
Chadron State—Isaiah Wyatt 17, Porter Anderson 14, Bruce Latimer 10, Marcus Jefferson 9, Jarrett Taylor 9, Josh Robison 6, MJ Foust 5, Pat McLachlan 3. Totals: 25-60 (10-22) 13-17 73 points, 40 rebounds, 15 turnovers.
Westminster—Taylor Miller 22, Trey Farrer 16, Don Avila 13, Jeremy DowDell 9, Pierce Sterling 6, Lewis Johnson 5, Gabe Olivera 3, Drake Middleton 2. Totals: 27-64 (7-16) 15-17 76 points, 34 rebounds, 8 turnovers.
Chadron 27 46 ----73
Westminster 37 39 ----76
3 pointers: CSC—Wyatt 5, Taylor 3, Jefferson 1, McLachlan 1. West—DowDell 3, Miller 2, Sterling 1, Johnson 1.