The Chadron State College men controlled the game early against the second-best team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings, leading for 16 minutes in the first half. The Eagles held the conference’s leading scorer to nine points, 11 below his previous season low, but lost a grip on the game down the stretch, falling 69-51 in Salt Lake City.
“Defensively, we were so much better than we were last weekend,” said coach Houston Reed. “We did some good things and knocked them back on their heels. Their coach, Norm Parrish, is one of the best in the league. He challenged our guards and held us in check. However, Jeremy Ruffin did a great job on Dayon Goodman, took him out of the gameplan, and you have to be happy with that.”
Starting with the first bucket of the game by the Eagles’ Jeremy Ruffin, 45 seconds into the game, Chadron State led for more than 16 straight minutes. However, at around the nine-minute mark in the first, Westminster’s shooters woke up and went 8-of-10 from the field in a six-minute spurt to tie the game at 27-27 at 2:57 on the clock.
A three-pointer by Travis Devashrayee at 1:02 gave the Griffins their first lead of the night at 31-29, but a layup by Eagle senior Matt Reader with 34 seconds to halftime sent the game to the break knotted up at 31.
CSC held Dayon Goodman, the Griffins’ conference-leading scorer and No. 2 in the nation with 28.9 points per game, to just two first-half points.
Goodman had a fast start in the second half with five additional points in the first 3:18, but also committed two turnovers and two personal fouls to sit with four at 11:59 left in the game.
Chadron State then went 1-of-7 the next six minutes, with a flurry of three-pointers falling off mark.
The Griffins built to a 12-point lead, their biggest to that point, at 6:09 as senior guard Sam Orchard drained a three, and Ruffin fouled out with 5:37 to go.
In the last eight minutes of the game, Westminster hit all 10 of their free throws and held CSC to just three field goals as they built their lead as high as 21 points.
The Griffins scored their second-fewest points of the season, getting a game-high 18 from Devashrayee. Only two others, seniors Orchard and Quincy Bair, hit double digits with 13 apiece.
For the Eagles, Jaisean Jackson led his teammates with 17 points, adding two assists. Dru Kuxhausen had 12 points. Reader led the team with seven boards, including all four for his team on the offensive glass.
Chadron State shot 46.2 percent in the game, but cooled off in the second half, particularly from three, shooting just 27.3 from the field and 23 percent from beyond the arc.
The Westminster men were a consistent 47.2 percent from the field, running their record to 13-2 overall and 9-2 in the RMAC. However the Eagles limited their opponents’ opportunities by outrebounding the home team 24 to 16.
CSC falls to 3-13, and 1-9 in league play. The Eagles get seven of their last 11 games at home, starting with rematches against Adams State University and Fort Lewis College on January 19 and 20.
Score by half:
Chadron State 31 20 —52
Westminster 31 38 —69
Chadron State—Jaisean Jackson 17, Dru Kuxhausen 12, Walker Andrew 9, Eric Jamerman 6, Matt Reader 4, Jeremy Ruffin 3. Totals: 18-48 (5-19) 10-17 51 points, 24 rebounds, 11 turnovers.
Westminster—Travis Devashrayee 18, Quincy Bair 13, Sam Orchard 13, Dayon Goodman 9, Mason Smith 7, Jarred Laws 4, Tanner Newbold 3, Scott Cook 2. Totals: 25-53 (6-16) 13-17 69 points, 16 rebounds, 9 turnovers.
3-pointers: CSC—Kuxhausen 3, Jamerman 2.WC— Devashrayee 4, Goodman 1, Orchard 1.