Going into this past weekend’s away games against Southwestern University and Texas Lutheran University, the Tigers needed to get at least one win to stay strong in the hunt for the playoffs. They exceeded this need by getting two wins. It was an important weekend for the Tigers, and they came through.
The first win, against Southwestern (70–64), was defined by the team’s grit, despite some sloppiness. The Tigers gave up 25 points off of turnovers, a poor mark considering Colorado College’s standards.
Sophomore forward CooXooEii Black filled the statistics sheet with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Eric Houska shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe, accounting for 14 points and five rebounds.
The Tigers made the difference in this game on the boards and at the free throw line. On the boards, the Tigers held a 43–25 lead, going for 16 second-chance points. At the free throw line, the Tigers made 19 of the 20 shots.
Although the Tigers had a great game, senior forward Chris Martin saw room for development. “I think we can continue to work on being patient on the offensive end of things, as well as understanding where each team’s defensive weaknesses are,” Martin said. “In addition to that, we committed a lot of turnovers, many of which were unforced, in our game against Southwestern so if we can value the ball like we did against TLU and continue playing tough defensively, we will be in a good spot.”
Taking good care of the ball in the second game was important for the Tigers, and it showed as they only gave it up seven times, as opposed to the 24 last Friday. The final score was 58–54, and despite the low-scoring effort, team members were still satisfied with how they played.
“This weekend, defense played a huge role in our wins,” Martin said. “We were able to execute defensively and really keep the teams from scoring their averages. Even though we didn’t produce as much offensively, our defensive effort is really what won us those games.”
Another big factor in the second win was Houska’s huge performance. The senior put up 25 points on 9-for-19 shooting, and added two assists.The game put the Tigers on track to make the conference championships, which will be hosted at home in Reid Arena. CC is now in sixth place in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, and only two games out of third place.
Martin has high hopes for the final five games of the season. “Going into these next couple of games, we again will be focusing on energy and effort,” Martin said. “Last week, our practices leading up to the games were really good, high energy, competitive practices. That helped our mindset as we prepared for the weekend, and we will continue emphasizing defensive effort and communication, as well as patience on offense.” Finally, Martin emphasized the importance of each and every possession in their upcoming games, which means going for 50–50 balls and not committing turnovers or unnecessary fouls. Houska added to this sentiment, emphasizing the effect of playing away from home.
“We really like how we are playing right now and plan to keep it rolling,” Houska said. “It’s always hard to play on the road, but we enjoy the challenge and are looking forward to these next games.”
The Tigers travel to the play Austin College, the cellar-dwellers today, and face third-place Centenary College of Louisiana tomorrow.