Bench Boost Lifts No. 1 'Diggers Past Augie, 82-69
GOLDEN – The No. 1 Colorado School of Mines men's basketball team got a big 30-point boost from its bench and committed just seven turnovers in earning an 82-69 victory over Augustana on Saturday evening at Lockridge Arena in Golden in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Orediggers (28-2) push their winning streak to 16 games in the victory, and advance to play fourth-seeded MSU Moorhead on Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. The Dragons (20-9 earned an 82-66 victory over fourth-seeded Southwest Minnesota State in Saturday's night cap.
Tickets for Sunday's two-game session will go on sale at 3:30 p.m. at the Lockridge Arena ticket office. Second-seeded Metro State and sixth-seeded St. Cloud State will face each other in Sunday's first game at 5 p.m.
Mines committed just seven turnovers in the matchup, and turned 12 Augustana (17-11) miscues into 20 points. The Orediggers also posted 38 points in the paint and recorded a 15-to-10 advantage on second chance points.
Quite possibly the most telling statistic, however, was Mines' proficiency at the foul line, where it buried 28-of-38 free throws, compared to an 8-of-16 effort by the Vikings.
The Orediggers struggled through the first minute and a half of the ballgame, and fell behind 7-0 with 18:24 to go in the first half. It didn't take long for Mines to get into an offensive rhythm after the Orediggers mounted a 9-2 run through the next three minutes to knot the game up at 9-9.
A layup by Brett Green with 10:27 to play in the first half gave Mines a 10-point lead at 23-13, but the Vikings continued to battle and trimmed the CSM lead to just three points at 26-23 with 7:20 remaining in the half.
Mines continued to increase its lead through the reminder of the half and headed into the break with a 42-32 advantage.
The Vikings came out of the break on fire and quickly erased Mines' 10-point advantage, tying up the ballgame at 47-47 with 14:03 to play.
A 3-point basket by redshirt freshman Brian Muller gave Mines a 63-54 lead, and after an Augustana turnover, Muller drove to the basket and found a wide open Luke Meisch for a layup – putting the Orediggers up 65-54 with 7:14 remaining. The Orediggers would not see their lead dip below seven points the rest of the way in adding to their school record for wins in a season.
Mines was led by senior Dale Minschwaner and his 23-point, nine-rebound performance. He finished 8-of-13 from the floor, 7-of-11 from the foul line and also added a block in 30 minutes of action.
Redshirt freshman Brian Muller added 16 points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field, including a 3-of-7 effort from 3-point land. Trevor Ritchie added 10 and Luke Meisch added 11 to account for the four Orediggers in double figures in front of a sellout Lockridge Arena crowd.
Brett Green, Minschwaner and Trevor Wages added eight, nine and eight rebounds, respectively.
The Orediggers will continue to play host on Sunday when they take on the winner of fourth-seeded Southwest Minnesota State and fifth-seeded MSU Moorhead at 7:30 p.m. All Colorado School of Mines students will receive free admission with a valid BlasterCard.