Brandon Jefferson, Mitch McCarron lead Metro State to victory
DENVER -- No. 6 Metro State defeated Colorado-Colorado Springs 95-59 on Friday night behind 50 points from Brandon Jefferson and Mitch McCarron combined. The win increased the Roadrunners' record to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The loss dropped the Mountain Lions' record to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the RMAC.
Metro State was led by McCarron with 27 points, Jefferson with 23 points and 13 points from Nicholas Kay. Leading the way for the Roadrunners on the glass was McCarron with nine rebounds.
In the first half, Metro State came out strong as it scored the first eight points of the game. Metro State's defense propelled it throughout the rest of the first half as the Roadrunners forced 13 turnovers in the half.
Overall for the first half, Metro State shot 35.9 percent (14 of 39) from the field. The Roadrunners shot 92.9 percent (13-for-14) from the free-throw line to help them to a 42-28 lead.
In the second half, Metro State continued its dominance as it was able to eventually push its lead into the 30s in the closing minutes of the game.
Overall for the game, Metro State shot 46.8 percent (29 of 62) from the field and 82.9 percent (34 of 41) from the charity stripe.
Metro State forced 18 turnovers, eight of which were steals.
UCCS was led by Jordan Carter with 11 points.
No. 2 Bellarmine 86, Virginia Union 64
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Second-ranked Bellarmine shook off a sluggish start and used a blistering second half to dispatch Virginia Union 86-64 on Friday night in the first round of the Holiday Inn Southwest Classic in Knights Hall.
Coming into the game, the Knights were the best shooting team in the nation -- according to the NCAA statistical rankings -- but after the first 20 minutes, Bellarmine found itself trailing 31-30 after making just 11 of 32 field goals.
After the break, however, the Knights fired on all cylinders, amping up their team defense which fueled lights-out shooting. In the second half, Bellarmine shot a sizzling 81.5 percent which included a nearly unbelievable 22-of-22 shooting inside the arc.
"We played defense as a team in the second half," Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport said. "Our defense created our offense in the second half. They [Virginia Union] controlled the tempo in the first half, that's why it was 31-30 at halftime. This was a good night for us. This is a tough team to play. They're very athletic and have a great tradition in their program."
Sophomore forward George Suggs led all scorers with 17 points, which set a career high. In all, five Knights hit double-figure scoring with Keisten Jones (14), Vance Hall (13), Jake Thelen (12) and Josh Derksen (11) joining Suggs in double digits.
Virginia Union was paced by Ken Pankey, who came off the bench to tally 14 points, and Avery Jirmnson, who posted 13.
Bellarmine controlled the glass with a 40-29 rebounding advantage fueled by great gang rebounding. Seven different Knights had four or more rebounds led by Jones and Thelen with six apiece.
The Knights also exhibited the great passing that has become their hallmark with 24 assists credited on their 33 baskets.
The 22-point margin was the biggest defeat the Panthers (1-6) have suffered this season. The Knights improved to a 6-0 on the season.
No. 9 Southern Indiana 98, Ohio Valley 66
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ninth-ranked Southern Indiana cruised by Ohio Valley 98-66 on Friday afternoon in the Holiday Inn Southwest Classic at Bellarmine. USI is 6-0 overall, while OVU fell to 1-10.
The Screaming Eagles took command in the first half as senior forward Aaron Nelson propelled them to a 16-6 run with nine consecutive points and went into the locker room with a 20-point advantage, 49-29. USI senior forwards Chuck Jones and Taylor Wischmeier led the Eagles in the opening half with 10 points each.
USI was a blistering 57.5 percent in the first half from the field, hitting 23 of 40 shots.
The Eagles quickly extended the halftime lead to 30 points, 66-36, with a 27-7 run in the first five minutes of the second half. USI pushed the lead to as many as 39 points, 83-44, with 9:14 left to play and cruised the final nine minutes to the 98-66 final.
Jones led five Eagles in double-figure scoring with a career-high 19 points. He came off the bench to hit his first seven shots and finished the game by hitting 64.2 percent from the field (9 of 14). He also grabbed a career-high eight rebounds.
Wischmeier and Nelson followed Jones in the scoring column with 16 points each. Nelson also recorded his sixth consecutive double-double with 10 rebounds, while Wischmeier followed by clearing the glass nine times.
Senior guard Lawrence Thomas and junior guard Gavin Schumann rounded out the double-figure scorers with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Shumann also dished out a season-high nine assists, while Thomas contributed on another six baskets.