GOLDEN, Colo. — Top-ranked Colorado Mines advanced to its first region championship game with a 80-60 throttling of Minnesota State-Moorhead on Sunday evening in the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II Central Region Tournament at Lockridge Arena.
The Dragons (21-10) came into the matchup fourth nationally in 3-point percentage and 11th nationally in 3-pointers made per game, but a strong ‘Digger defense limited the long-range specialists to just a 6-of-21 effort from downtown. Mines also made 15-of-18 shots at the foul line in addition to shooting 50 percent from both the field (28-of-56) and 3-point land (9-of-18).
The duo of Trevor Wages and Dale Minschwaner got MSUM forward Alex Novak in foul trouble early, and limited the All-NSIC player to just 10 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes of action.
Both teams had trouble getting their offense going and they combined for just 11 points through the first seven minutes and change before Trevor Wages gave Mines a three-point lead at 8-5 with 12:31 to go in the first half.
A 3-point basket by Jacob Case with 10:35 to go gave Mines a 13-7 advantage, and it took almost two minutes for another field goal by either team before Dale Minschwaner put Mines up 16-7 on an old fashioned 3-point play.
Mines would close the half on a 24-15 run and head into the break with a 40-to-25 lead, capped off by a 3-point basket by Brett Green as time expired on the first half.
After a slow start to the second half, a layup by Trevor Ritchie with 13:37 to play gave Mines its biggest lead of the game — 23 points at 57-34.
The Orediggers would increase their lead to as much as 27 points during the second half in running away with the win.
Green led the team with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-4 efforts from both 3-point range and the foul line.
Minschwaner posted his fifth double-double of the season and the 23rd of his career on a 17-point, 11-rebound performance on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor.
Trevor Wages added 13 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-12 shooting from the floor while Brian Muller highlighted a 26-point effort from the Oredigger bench with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point land.