After not being able to play its last four scheduled games because of COVID-19 issues, the Chadron State College men’s basketball team was supposed to have played at Black Hills State on Tuesday night and is then slated to host South Dakota Mines on Saturday night in the Chicoine Center.
The latter is the Eagles’ final scheduled home game. After that, Coach Shane Paben’s team is due to visit Metro State and Colorado Christian in Denver on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 26 and 27 to wrap up the regular season.
The Eagles played a superb game on Jan. 26 while defeating Black Hills State 71-59 at home to even their record at 4-4, but had to skip a home date with Metro State on Jan. 30, call off a trip to Colorado State-Pueblo and Adams State the following weekend and also forego playing Colorado-Colorado Springs at home last Saturday night, Feb. 13, because too many Eagles were still unable to play.
However, the quarantines expired and the team was to take on the Yellow Jackets Tuesday night.
The Eagles have played fewer games than any of the other Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference teams. All the others have played at least 11. Colorado Mines, which is nationally ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II, is 11-0 at the top of the standings, followed by No. 8 Colorado Mesa at 14-1, Metro State at 7-5, Black Hills State at 6-5 and South Dakota Mines at 8-8.
The Eagles are the only other .500 team in the league, while Westminster is 7-8, and Adams State and Fort Lewis both 6-7.
The RMAC playoffs are set to begin March 2. Perhaps the only way the Eagles can get one of the eight bids is to win their final four games.
South Dakota Mines edged the Eagles 60-59 in overtime on Jan. 21 when Kolten Mortensen nailed a 3-pointer in the final second in Rapid City. Two nights later, the Hardrockers edged Black Hills State 79-78. Since then, Coach Eric Glenn’s team has gone 2-4.
The only senior in the starting lineup, 6-4 Wilfred Dickson, is the Rockers’ leading scorer at 12.9 points a game. Redshirt freshman Brevin Walter and sophomore Alejandro Rama are both averaging about 11.5 points and Mortensen is at 10.5 a game.
The Eagles not only lost a heart-breaker to Mines in Rapid City, but also lost their leading scorer, Jacob Jefferson, to a season-ending knee injury. But the team regrouped and was impressive while beating Black Hills for the first time since 2015.
Entering the home stretch of the schedule, the Eagles have some interesting statistics. Both they and the opponents have grabbed 255 rebounds and turned the ball over 123 times. The CSC men hold a 546 to 531 scoring advantage and have hit 71 3-pointers, compared to 43 for the foes. However, the opponents own a 96-77 free throw margin.
The Chadron State women’s remaining schedule is the same as the men’s. Now 0-9, the Lady Eagles played both of the last two home dates that the men missed, but also did not make the trip to Pueblo or Adams State. South Dakota Mines won 65-59 when the teams met in Rapid City on Feb. 21.
Fans will be allowed to attend the Saturday night games.