The Chadron State men’s basketball took good care of the basketball, shot well from the free throw line and played strong defense Saturday afternoon while topping Bellevue College 64-54 in the Eagles’ home debut.
Now 2-2, the Eagles were ahead for all but one possession when Bellevue took a 15-13 lead with 7:36 left in the opening half. CSC had a 26-20 halftime edge, but the Bruins stayed in the hunt all the way.
The Bruins drew within 42-40 with 12:16 to play and, thanks to guard Jalen Hall’s ability to take the ball to the basket in the second half, trailed by only 52-49 with four minutes remaining.
But the Eagles finally stopped Hall a couple of times and outscored the visitors 12-5 the rest of the way
The Bruins, now 4-4, were not bashful about shooting. They put up 63 field goal shots—17 more than the Eagles—and fired 35 times from 3-point range. However, they made only five of their long distance volleys for a frigid 14.3 percent. Bellevue had shot 36 percent from afar entering the game.
The Eagles also had the 3-pointer it their arsenal, but ran a more controlled offense and finished by shooting 45.7 percent from the field overall and were seven of 19 from behind the arc.
More impressively, the Eagles were 15 of 18 at the free throw line and were called for only 10 fouls, limiting Bellevue to five of seven at the line.
Guard Jaisen Jackson led CSC in scoring with 19 points, grabbed five rebounds, handed out four assists and had only two turnovers while serving as the Eagles’ primary ball handler. Both Dru Kuxhausen and Leigh Saffin bagged three treys while scoring 11 points apiece, Jeremy Ruffin contributed 10 and Jordan Mills nine.
Sophomore stalwart Michael Johnson made his only field goal shot and both of his free throws and was the game’s top rebounder with 10.
The Bruins’ Hall was scoreless at halftime, but finished with 21 points. He sank just one of 10 shots from 3-point territory, but found success in the second half by taking the ball to the basket. He poured in 16 points during a nine-minute stretch, before missing his final three shots. Nine other Bruins also scored, but none of them scored more than six points.
Bellevue edged the Eagles 78-77 at home a year ago.
The Eagles played at Montana State-Billings on Tuesday night and will be at home for another 1 p.m. game this Saturday against Augustana from Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Vikings, who were the NCAA II national champions two years ago, were 24-9 last season. Through this past weekend, they were 3-1, defeating Southern Indiana 77-73 and Montevallo of Alabama 88-69 on the road and holding off Peru State 97-94 in overtime before being upset by Graceland of Iowa 93-81 at home.
Bellevue—Jalen Hall 21, Connor Dukes 6, BJ Shelton 6, Drew Apsher 6, Jaffery Stillman 4, Brandon Fagins 3, Blake Wilder 2, Austin Moore 2, Andrew Saunders 2, Richard Reed 2, Totals: 22-63 (5-35) 5-7 54 points, 37 rebounds, 8 turnovers.
Chadron State—Jaisean Jackson 19, Drew Kuxhausen 11, Leigh Saffin 11, Jeremy Ruffin 10, Jordan Mills 9, Michael Johnson 4. Totals: 21-46 (7-19) 15-18 64 points, 31 rebounds, 8 turnovers.
Bellevue 20 34 ----54
Chadron State 26 38 ----64
3-pointers: Bell—Dukes 2, Apsher 2, Hall 1. CSC—Kuxhausen 3, Saffin 3, Mills 1.