Coming into the game, Mines controlled their own destiny for making the RMAC tournament. Needing two wins to guarantee themselves the sixth spot in the conference tournament, the men’s basketball team looked to get the first of those two wins at home against New Mexico Highlands University on Friday night.
Thanks to a 30-5 margin in bench scoring, 16-8 assists margin and a combined 34-39 effort from the free throw line for 87.2 percent, Mines handily beat their opponent. Mines is now 14-10 overall and 11-9 in the RMAC.
As a team, Mines shot 48 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from behind the arc on 8-of-12 shooting. The 25 point bench scoring differential was led by 16 points from Ruben Jackson. Cesar Mapeli and Garrett Loew chipped in seven and six respectively coming off the bench, Mapeli also tallied 7 rebounds.
Brian Muller scored the first of his 18 points by draining a three on the first possession of the game. Mines led 17-10 with just under twelve remaining, but the Cowboys fought back to take their only lead of the game at 31-30 with 3:25 to play. Four straight Muller free throws gave Mines the lead and at halftime the score was 41-37 in favor of the home team.
In the second half, the Orediggers took control of the game with accurate shooting and a stingy defense. Over a seven minute period in the second half, Mines outscored the Cowboys 27-12 to lead by twenty at 77-57 with under six-and-a-half minutes to play. The final score was 90-74 and gives the Orediggers the chance to clinch at least the sixth seed with a win on Saturday.
Luke Meisch led the Orediggers with 21 points and added seven rebounds and two assists. Trevor Wages scored 13, grabbed nine rebounds, and recorded three steals to lead the team.