Men’s Basketball hands Metro State an embarrassing 65-48 loss

{gallery}1011/i15/menbball/{/gallery}Steven Wooldridge / Oredigger

Sean Armstrong drove into the lane, drew a hard foul from 6′-9″ center Shakir Johnson and drilled a desperation shot as he was falling to the floor, en route to completing a three-point play. It was that kind of night for Armstrong, who connected on 8 of 11 from the field and 12-15 from the free throw line for a game high 28 points as the Mines Men’s Basketball team cruised past Metro State College 65-48 Saturday night at Lockridge Arena in Golden, CO.

“[Sean]’s a great competitor and great leader,” said coach Pryor Orser. “He was unbelievable tonight, but he’s been unbelievable for the past two years for us. For how hard he’s worked for us, I’m so proud of him.”

Armstrong’s three-point play put the Orediggers ahead by 12 with less than 10 minutes remaining, a lead that would prove to be too great for Metro State to overcome. For the Roadrunners, the 48 points in the game was the lowest point total they have had this season as Mines’ stingy defense held them to just 35% shooting from the field. Reggie Evans, the top scorer of the season for Metro State, was held to just 4 points.

Metro State’s dominant inside presence was held at bay for most of the night as well, as Dale Minschwaner and freshman Trevor Wages limited Jonathan Morse, all 6′-7″ and 240 pounds of him, to just nine points on the night.
“They like to play ‘chuck and fetch,'” said Orser, “They throw the ball up and let the bigs go and get it. Morse is a competitive player, but Dale and Trevor played him tough.”

The Orediggers’ 33-26 halftime lead was cut to four early in the second half, but steals by Armstrong and sophomore Brett Green, followed by two blocks from Gordon Galloway, kept Mines in the lead, a lead that they would hold since trailing 4-3 early in the first half.

But the Roadrunners hung around, pulling to 46-41 with 11:12 remaining, connecting on the first of their only two three-point field goals for the night. But Mines countered with a 17-3 run of their own, highlighted by Armstrong’s three-point play. The run put Mines ahead by 19 and any thoughts of another close contest between the two rivals were erased.

Behind Armstrong’s 28, Drew Hoffman added nine points on three three-pointers, Minschwaner and Wages each added eight and Green and Chris Goutama both tallied six. For Metro State, Brandon Jefferson was the only Roadrunner in double figures, scoring a team high of 10 points.

The win comes on the heels of a 96-45 blowout of Regis University the previous night, a game that allowed Orser to rest some of his players. All three of the Orediggers’ losses in conference play have been by four points or less and two have been the second half of back-to-back games.

“In the three games we’ve lost, it’s been because we’ve been gassed; we’ve been dead at the end of the game. It was huge for us to be able to rest some players last night to keep us rested for tonight,” said Orser.

The Orediggers have now won eight of their past nine games and improved to 18-3 overall and 14-3 in the RMAC. Mines now has a share of first place in the RMAC with Metro State and looks to defend last year’s title, which was the first in school history. Mines will travel to Lakewood on February 12 to play Colorado Christian University in a rematch of last year’s first round of the RMAC championship tournament.

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