The Colorado School of Mines Men’s basketball team squared off against UCCS Friday night in Lockridge arena coming off of a tough loss to crosstown rival Metro State. This season, however, the Orediggers have typically responded well after a loss and it was no different against UCCS as Mines used a strong second half to pull out the 82-66 victory.
Both teams found it tough establishing much of a rhythm in the first half. UCCS led early 7-2 but neither side could muster more than a five point lead during any point in the first 20 minutes. Both offenses struggled to score, and if it was not for an 11-12 performance from the free throw line by the Orediggers, the game could have gotten out of hand early on. Still, behind 11 first half points from sophomore guard Brian Muller, the Orediggers held a 32-30 lead at the break.
Whatever the Orediggers were missing in the first half offensively, they found in the second half, scoring 50 points and opening their two point halftime lead up to 21 points with just under three minutes remaining. After turning the ball over 10 times and shooting just 37.5% in the first half, the Orediggers rebounded in the second session to shoot 55.6%. While the Orediggers also recorded 10 second half turnovers, they forced UCCS into 12 of their own and got to the free throw line 21 times in the second half, making 17 of them to cement the win.
When the final buzzer had sounded, it was Mines 82 and UCCS 66. The win brings the Orediggers overall record to 9-5, 6-4 in the RMAC and drops UCCS to 2-12, 2-8 in the RMAC. As a team, Mines shot 47% from the field, 33.3% from three, and nearly 85% from the charity stripe.
The second half offensive barrage was led by Muller and center Trevor Wages who combined for 31 second half points. Each player tallied 24 apiece for the game to lead all players in scoring. Wages led the Orediggers with 11 rebounds on the night to keep his season average at 10.8 boards per game. Muller added three rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal to his 24 points.
Junior Nicco Mucci tallied 12 points and five rebounds, and Luke Meisch scored nine to go along with nine rebounds in his team leading 38 minutes of play. Trey Winbush led the reserves with six points, three assists, and one rebound while making all four of his free throws.