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3's And D Lead No. 2 Mines To 88-62 Win Over Lopers

PUEBLO – Despite being out-rebounded for the first time in the last 12 games, the second-ranked Colorado School of Mines men's basketball team knocked in nine 3-pointers on the way to an 82-62 victory over Nebraska-Kearney in the semifinal round of the RMAC Shootout on Friday afternoon at the State Fair Events Center in Pueblo.

The Orediggers (26-2) set a new school record with their 26th victory of the season, eclipsing the 25 wins set by last year's NCAA Tournament squad. The Lopers (16-12) finished 22-of-23 from the foul line in the matchup, but it was not enough after Mines finished 19-of-25 from the foul line and shot 47.4 percent from the floor.

UNK was held to 34.6 percent shooting in the matchup, and the duo of Dale Minschwaner and Trevor Wages combined to swat eight Loper shots in addition to causing 16 turnovers. The Orediggers were able to turn those 16 turnovers into 21 points.

The two teams battled to a tie through the first 3-1/2 minutes of action, and eventually took a 6-5 lead on a pair of free throws by Minschwaner. A 3-point basket by sophomore Luke Meisch with 9:17 to go in the first half gave Mines an eight-point lead at 23-15. 

After a 3-point basket by redshirt freshman Brian Muller gave Mines its biggest lead of the half at 35-24, the Lopers closed out the first half on a 6-0 run. Despite being out-rebounded by a 22-to-13 margin during the first half, Mines used a 5-of-10 effort from downtown to head into the break with a 35-30 lead.  

The Lopers came out of the halftime break firing on all cylinders, and tied up the ballgame, 39-39, on a Max Froehlich jumper with 17:21 to play. A good free throw by Jon Henderson with 14:29 remaining tied up the ballgame at 43-all.

A 3-pointer by Tyler Shields cut the Mines' lead to four points, 58-54, with 5:45 to play, but a pair of layups by Minschwaner and a 3-point basket by Brett Green on consecutive possessions over the next 40 seconds quickly pushed the Oredigger lead back out to 11 points at 65-54. 

A pair of 3-point baskets by Brian Muller and another by Minschwaner again pushed the Mines' lead to 18 points, 76-58, with 2:07 to go. 

The Orediggers were led on offense by Meisch and his career high 18-point effort. He finished 6-of-10 from the floor and 5-of-5 from the foul line while adding four rebounds. 

Minschwaner and Trevor Ritchie each knocked in 16 points, with Minschwaner adding four assists and five blocks and Ritchie adding five assists (no turnovers) and three steals.

Redshirt freshman Brian Muller added 13 points to be the fourth Oredigger in double figures and RMAC Player of the Year Brett Green was held under 10 points for just the second time this season after finishing 2-of-6 from the floor for eight points.

Mines will now face the winner of the Fort Lewis/Colorado Mesa matchup tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the RMAC Shootout Championship. 

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