DENVER, Colorado – Metro State put together its most complete game of the season to defeat St. Mary’s (Texas) 78-70 on Tuesday night to win the South Central Region Championship. The win gave the Roadrunners their second trip to the quarterfinals in a row after winning the Central Region Tournament last season.
The win increased the Roadrunners record to 30-2 while the loss ended the Rattlers season at 23-8 overall after coming up as the runner-up for the South Central Region Tournament.
After the conclusion of the game, Demetrius Miller, Jonathan Morse, and Mitch McCarron were all named to the all-South Central Region tournament team with Miller being named the MVP of the tournament.
Metro State was led by 19 points from both Miller and Nicholas Kay. Also scoring in double figures for the Roadrunners was Morse with 15 points and McCarron with 12. McCarron also led the Roadrunners with a team high nine rebounds, five assists and three steals.
In the first half, Metro State started off strong as it was able to go up 8-2 on Miller’s 3-point field goal basket at the 17:09 mark. During that time, the Roadrunners had already forced three turnovers by the Rattlers converting them into five points.
Metro State was eventually able to push the lead to eight points when it led 14-6 with 14:35 left in the half. St. Mary’s answered by going on a 10-4 run to cut lead for the Roadrunners to two with 11:23 left in the first half. After Kay answered with a 3-point field goal, Daryell Taylor came back for the Rattlers with a 3-point field goal of his own at the 8:41 mark to cut the lead back to only 23-21 in favor of the Roadrunners.
During the rest of the first half, Metro State was able to go on a 15-7 run to make the halftime score 38-28 in favor of the Roadrunners. Overall for the first half, Metro State shot 50 percent on 14 of 28 shooting including going 4-for-8 from behind the arc. The Roadrunners also shot 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
In the second half, St. Mary’s answered with a 9-1 run to cut the lead to 39-37 at the 17:16 mark of the second half. After Brandon Jefferson sank his free throw at the 16:49 mark to increase the lead to three, Metro State went on a 10-3 run during the next 2:26 to put the game out of reach.
The Roadrunners were able to push the lead to the largest of the night at the 6:52 mark of the second half at 15 points when they led 68-53 after a pair of free throws from Morse. St. Mary’s wouldn’t back down though as it went on a 15-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Moses Sundufu to cut the lead to four at 72-68 with 1:24 left in the game.
Metro State didn’t panic though as it scored the next six points to pull ahead 78-68 with 0:10 left behind chants of “Metro State, Metro State” from the school-record home crowd (1,943) this season. St. Mary’s scored the final basket of the game when Kevin Kotzur made a lay-up with 0:03 left in the game.
Overall for the game, Metro State was outshot by St. Mary’s as the Roadrunners shot 49.1 percent (26-of-53) from the field while the Rattlers shot 51.9 percent (28 of 54). The Roadrunners, however, were able to force 16 turnovers from the Rattlers while only giving up eight. The Roadrunners also scored 26 points off of the 16 forced turnovers while the Rattlers were only able to score 10.
St. Mary’s was led by 25 points from Taylor, 21 points from Kotzur and 17 points from Sundufu. The three players accounted for 63 of the 70 points (90 percent of the total points) for St. Mary’s.