In front of a near capacity crowd of close to 2,000, the No. 11 Colorado School of Mines men’s basketball team hosted No. 1 ranked Metro State Friday night. Their upset bid fell just short, as Metro capitalized on a couple key turnovers to win a thrilling game by the score of 57-54.
The first half was a back and forth affair, with neither team gaining control through the halfway point of the first, but with 2:36 left in the half, Mines had jumped out to a seven point lead (27-20). Metro then scored five straight to cut into the lead and, at halftime, Mines led 29-26.
The Orediggers led by eight, 38-30, less than six minutes into the half and looked to be in control, but the top-ranked team in the country was not going to be discouraged that easily and managed to keep close. With 6:52 left in the game, the score was tied at 40.
Metro had not led since 14:29 left in the first half, but with just under three minutes remaining, they took the lead with two free throws. Mines quickly recaptured the lead with free throws of their own, but after Metro made a three pointer with 35 second left, the lead was 54-52. Another free throw pushed the Metro lead to three points, and with only 17 seconds left, Mines had some work to do. Trevor Ritchie quickly cut the lead to one with a layup, and after a foul and two free-throws, Mines had the ball back down just three. However, as they had done all night, turnovers plagued the Orediggers and the Roadrunners stole the ball before Mines could take a last second three.
Mines (17-3, 13-3 RMAC) out-rebounded Metro (19-1, 16-0 RMAC), but thanks to an 18 turnovers and a 19 point margin in turnovers, the Orediggers fell just short of an upset. The Orediggers played well and were clearly motivated by the massive student section, but to beat the No. 1 team in the nation, it takes a nearly perfect game, and the Orediggers simply made a few too many mistakes despite holding Metro to 33.3% shooting while shooting 42.1% of their own.
Mines held Metro to 26.7% from three and shot 40.0% themselves, but Metro went 21-of-25 from the stripe and overcame their shooting from the field to make their free-throws. The Orediggers went 16-for-18 from the line for 88.9% and had three players in double digits.
Luke Meisch led the Orediggers with 12 points and eight rebounds, Brian Muller added 11 points, four rebounds, and two assists, and Trevor Wages grabbed seven boards, scored 10 points and recorded a block. Gokul Natesan led the Mines bench with eight points, three assists, and three boards, and Trevor Ritchie led the team with five assists and one steal and added five points.