The Chadron State College men’s basketball team, led by freshman Dru Kuxhausen with 22 points, rallied from a one-point deficit in the first half to stump the University of Nebraska at Kearney on their home court Wednesday evening, by a score of 72-69.
The last win for Chadron State men’s basketball in Kearney came January 27, 2009, in a 72-65 triumph for the Eagles, when the Lopers were a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference member.
“Early in the game, we weren’t settled on either end of of the court,” said CSC Head Coach Houston Reed. “We made some errors on the scout, and we were stagnant offensively. As the game went on our players made some adjustments. Kuxhausen carried us offensively in the first half, but later on, we got some other guys involved, and they stepped up. It was a great team win.”
Kuxhausen went 5-of-7 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, to total 15 points in the first 20 minutes of play. He added three of his four assists in the first half of play, and all three of those came in the final two and a half minutes of the opening period as the Eagle offense found its rhythm headed into the half.
Michael Johnson, who finished with 13 points, picked up three quick field goals in the final 3:30 to keep things close. Eric Jamerman also found the bottom of the net from three-point range, twice in two attempts, in the first half.
Leigh Saffin came alive in the second half, hitting 3-of-5 from three-point range, as the Eagles built a nine-point lead with 7:30 left in the game and held the momentum until the 2:04 mark when a Ty Danielson three gave the Lopers new life.
However, that shot would be the last field goal for either team in the game, as UNK went 0-for-3 from the arc and missed all three free throws on a three-point shooting foul. The Lopers got to the line twice to hit four shots down the stretch, but were doomed by poor shooting and could not recover.
“In the second half we were able to execute our offense much better,” said Reed. “Defensively we stayed on point. [Jeremy] Ruffin did a tremendous job on their best player.”
“We were fortunate that a really good shooter missed three, there at the end. This group just doesn’t have much experience playing with the lead, and we have to get better at those kinds of game situations.”
Neither team led by double-digits in the game, with each team maxing their lead at nine. There were nine lead changes, and the score was tied four times.
Kuxhausen was the game’s leading scorer with 22 points, and he added five rebounds and four assists. Ruffin had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards. Jaisean Jackson was the Eagles’ other double-digit scorer with 10 points.
Danielson came off the bench to lead UNK on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-6 three pointers, and hit 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Chadron State comes back to the Chicoine Center for their home opener on Saturday, November 18, against Bellevue University. The Bruins were ranked No. 4 in NAIA Division II during the preseason, and picked No. 1 in the North Star Athletic Association.