Jan 01, 2022 4:48 PM

Jennings' 24 points not enough to hold off Colorado Mines comeback

Posted Jan 01, 2022 4:48 PM
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IMG_0640_crop.jpg

By: Con Marshall, CSC Sports Information

  The Chadron State College men's basketball team once led by 17 points, had the lead most of the game, but couldn't quite cash in the chips as Colorado School of Mines went ahead for keeps with 55 seconds remaining and edged the Eagles 65-62 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game played in Golden on Friday evening.

Mines is now 5-5 for the season and 3-3 in the RMAC. CSC is 6-9 and 2-5. 

The Eagles had their chances.  The veteran Orediggers entered the game shooting 46.5% from the field through their first nine games, but made just two of their first 16 field goal attempts while Chadron State opened a 25-10 lead midway in the opening half.  

The Eagles' largest lead was 30-13 with 7:24 left.  At that point they had sunk 13-of-20 shots from the field.  They didn't stay hot, making just two of their next 13 attempts, but were still clinging to a 34-31 lead at halftime.

Despite the disastrous letdown, the visitors continued to battle in the second half and forced the outcome to go to the wire.

Chadron State was ahead 43-35 after three minutes were gone in the second half. Mines finally went ahead 48-47 with 11:44 remaining, but the Eagles reclaimed the advantage at 56-55 on CJ Jennings' trey with 5:17 to play. When Jennings hit a two-point jumper 69 seconds later, CSC had a three-point margin.

The Eagles held the lead until senior Justin Engesser hit his only shot of the game, a three-pointer with 55 seconds left, that put the Orediggers ahead 62-60 with 55 seconds left on the clock. 

Chadron State missed a three on its ensuing possession. Engesser got the rebound, teammate Titus Reed was fouled and made both free throws. The Eagles missed from the field again.  Another of the Miners, Kobi Betts, grabbed that carom and was fouled.  He made one of two charity tosses to put the hosts ahead 65-60 with 16 seconds remaining.

Something unusual then occurred.  The Eagles' Mason Heimstra quickly bagged a three-pointer, but the officials ruled Engesser had fouled the Eagles' Marcus Jefferson prior to the shot and the trey was for naught.

Jefferson made both of his free shots with 10 seconds left. Mines inadvertently turned the ball over with about a second to play, giving the Eagles a last gasp shot, but it was off target.

After shooting 45.5% from the field during their hot and cold first half, the Eagles hit just 30.8% (8-26) in the second half, but still finished with 23 field goals, four more than the Orediggers.  Each team managed just four treys with Mines taking 21 shots from behind the arc and CSC 14.

Mines shot 34.5% (19-55) from the field.

In the final analysis, the difference was at the free throw line where the Orediggers were 23-28 and the Eagles 12-18.  Both teams were called for 21 fouls. Mines out-rebounded CSC 44-36, but the Eagles had only 10 turnovers, four fewer than the hosts.

Jennings, who played all 40 minutes, was the game's top scorer with 24 points. Fellow guard Teddy Parham, Jr., added 17 points and Marcus Jefferson 12, but the remaining Eagles combined for only nine.

As has been the situation all season, the Eagles were not at full force. They were without their starting center, Porter Anderson, and another post player, 6-10 Joniya Gadson, played the first 13 minutes, but seemed to be in distress when he left the floor and did not play in the second half.

Mines was led by 6-6 forwards Brendan Sullivan, a senior, and Riley Schroeder, a sophomore, with 12 points apiece.  Adam Krasovec, a 6-10 freshman from Hungary, scored 11.  Titus Reed added eight and Betts and Boone each contributed seven.  All three are seniors.

Chadron State was scheduled to play at Regis today (Saturday) during the trip to Denver, but the Rangers postponed the game because of COVID issues. 

                Chadron State—CJ Jennings 24, Teddy Parham 17, Marcus Jefferson 12, Joniya Gadson 4, Bryant Jefferson 3, Mason Heimstra 2. Totals: 23-59 (4-14) 12-18 62 points, 36 rebounds, 5 assists, 10 turnovers.
                Colorado Mines—Brenden Sullivan 12, Riley Schroeder 12, Adam Krasovec 11, Titus Reed 8, Kobi Betts 7, Ben Boone 7, Trent Dykema 5, Justin Engesser 3. Totals: 19-55 (4-21) 23-28 65 points, 44 rebounds, 15 assists, 14 turnovers.

                Chadron State                   34             28         ----62
                Colorado Mines                31              34         ----65

                3-pointers: CSC—Jennings 3, Parham 1.  CSM—Sullivan, Schroeder, Boone, Engesser, all 1.