The ninth-ranked Colorado School of Mines men’s basketball team squared off against Colorado Christian in the first round of the RMAC Tournament on Tuesday, March 8, and for the second time in four days ran the Cougars off the floor. The Orediggers shellacked CCU 102-57 thanks to a blistering 63.2% shooting night.
Colorado Christian took their only lead of the game (5-4) just 1:31 into the game with a three pointer. That lead lasted all of 15 seconds and by the halfway point of the first, the Orediggers led by 13 (24-11) and were just beginning to pull away. At halftime, the Orediggers held the 48-31 advantage, in large due to a 62.1% shooting percentage and going 4-of-8 from three.
In the second half, the Orediggers could do no wrong. If they were hot in the first half, then they were on fire in the second, shooting 64.5% from the field and making 15 of their 20 free-throws in the half. By the midway point of the second stanza, Mines led 76-49 and their lead was still increasing. When the final buzzer finally rang, the score showed 102 for Mines and 57 for the other guys.
From the opening tip, the Orediggers played inspired and fired up for what may well be the final game for four seniors Trevor Wages, Brett Green, Luke Meisch, Clay Boatwright, and Will Carr. Led by Meisch with 22 points, the Orediggers had five players in double figures. Meisch added eight rebounds, three assists, and two blocks in his 25 minutes of play; while Green scored 16, grabbed six boards, and had three assists and a steal. Wages scored 15 and recorded a near triple double with nine rebounds and seven blocks. With his nine rebounds, Wages became just the third member of the 1000 points 1000 rebound club at Mines, joining Joe Butkovich (1968-1972) and Jeff Rhodes (1978-1982) in the exclusive club. Brian Muller scored 11, had four assists, two steals and two rebounds, and Ritchie recorded four assists and six points. Off the bench, Gokul Natesan chipped in 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, and three steals. Boatwright scored six with a block and a rebound in his four minutes of play.
The Orediggers held CCU to just a 30.2% shooting percentage on the night and out-rebounded the cougars 40-34. Mines shot 46.7% from three and 74.2% from the line. Another key to their victory was forcing 17 turnovers and only recording nine of their own, also the Orediggers assisted on 22 of their 36 makes on the night.
The win was fresh off the announcement of all-conference honors. Three Orediggers were named first team all-RMAC: Green, Meisch, and Wages. Brian Muller was a second team selection, Ritchie a third team selection, and Natesan was crowned freshman of the year in the RMAC.