The Colorado College men’s basketball team went 1–1 over this weekend’s games against Austin College (2–9) and Centenary (7–4). This brought the team’s conference record to 5–6, placing them fifth in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The Austin College matchup looked to be the far easier one on paper, and it turned out exactly that way for the surging Tigers. CC was paced by forward CooXooEii Black and guard Eric Houska, scoring 23 and 19 points respectively, as the two have continued to be huge pieces for the Tigers this season. Another main factor in the game against Austin College was the great rebounding effort by the Tigers. The Tigers won the rebounding battle 40–32 and outscored Austin College on second-chance points 18–11.
Along with their rebounding, they put forth a strong defensive effort. Senior forward Chris Martin felt strongly about the Tigers’ defensive effort in both games this weekend. “Defensively, we were able to continue to match the intensity we’ve had in previous games, which was a huge help,” Martin said. “Our defensive execution is what has really helped us maintain consistency all around.
That and the practices we’ve been having have continued to be intense and competitive, which really helps in mentally preparing for the games during the weekend.”
Success has been a season-long trend for the Tigers. CC is the best defensive team in the SCAC, allowing an average of only 73.7 points per game.
The game against Centenary College of Louisiana was the tougher one, as the Tigers fell in double overtime, 87–79. After regulation ended 64–64, the teams went on to each score six points in the first overtime period. Centenary made up the difference in what turned out to be the final period, going 17–9 in the final frame. Senior guard Bobby Roth led the team in scoring for the first time this season, with 19 points, and Houska followed with 18 points.
Martin commented on what he thought was a big issue in the game. “Probably the biggest thing, especially after this past weekend, is valuing the ball,” Martin said. “We had a lot of turnovers against Centenary, and they scored on over half of them. If we cut our turnovers down, we’ll be in good shape.” He went on to say that the Tigers could have taken better advantage of their attempts from the charity stripe. “We also had an off
free-throw-shooting night,” Martin said.
“But I think after putting in some quality time shooting free throws in practice, we’ll be good.”
The Tigers, ranked second in the conference in free-throw shooting at 72.6 percent, just didn’t have it as well against Centenary. They only made 46.2 percent of the shots this game.
Martin also made sure to make a point that the team learned a lot from their double overtime thriller. “I think one thing we took
away is that, in spite of some pretty big errors, we were able to keep playing through them and make sure the positives outweigh the negatives,” Martin said. “I think that game was a prime example of how important valuing the ball is, as well. We also know we can play with max effort for a whole game plus overtime, which is a testament to the grit and determination of the whole team. Knowing that, we really have a mindset now of getting after teams and keeping up the tempo the whole game.”
The Tigers will have the advantage of taking that get-after-it mindset into Reid Arena for the rest of the season, as the Tigers play their final three games of the season at home, and the SCAC championship will also be hosted in the Springs. The Tigers face first-place Schreiner (9–1) today, and third-place Trinity (6–4) on Sunday.