Roadrunner men continue to play amidst turmoil

The MSU Denver Roadrunners men’s basketball team rallied together Feb. 10 at the Auraria Events Center to get the 75-59 win over the Chadron State Eagles despite starting guard Sunday Dech suffering a concussion and convulsing uncontrollably early in the game.

Dech was injured from a fall of more than five feet on a leaping drive to the basket four minutes into the first half. He was convulsing uncontrollably and visually in pain following the fall. He  required immediate medical attention. Dech was then taken to the hospital to be further evaluated. He was later diagnosed with a concussion and is currently in the NCAA concussion protocol.

MSU Denver Roadrunner Basketball (Mens)

MSU Denver guard Allec Williams leaps for a cross-court pass to guard Brian Howard during the game against Chadron State on Friday, Feb. 10 at the Auraria Event Center. Roadrunners won the game 75-59. Photo by Kenneth Martinez •

The Roadrunners three-point shooting caught fire following the injury stoppage. As a team,they shot 53 percent from long range in the first half. The game’s leading scorer, Brian Howard, dropped 22 points while going 4-5 from beyond the arc. The hot shooting led to the Roadrunners to a 10-point lead the the end of the half.

The Eagles played tough into the second half, but the Roadrunners supplied enough defense to maintain their lead. They went on a 14-0 run midway through the second half to pull away. From there, the Eagles imploded by committing several fouls including a technical foul by forward Jordan Perry. Peter Moller led the way sinking all five of his looks from the line. Moller finished the game with a double-double, scoring 15 points and adding 10 rebounds.

The Roadrunners lost a tough one on Feb. 11 against Regis.

They were in a prime position to take home the win.  They battled back from a large deficit early only to then take a large lead of their own. The lead was short lived as the Rangers made it a tightly
contested game in the waning minutes before stunning the Roadrunners with the 80-82 win at the buzzer.

The game was scoreless for the first three minutes. The Rangers then found their rhythm and they built up a 12-point lead with six minutes left in the first half. The Roadrunners were then able to cut the Rangers lead to 29-34 at the half.

The Roadrunners used an uptempo attack to shoot 55 percent from the field in the final frame. Five Roadrunners finished in double digit scoring; including guards Allec Williams, who had 19 points, while Enrique Cortes Zotes had 11. They built up a 14-point lead with 10 minutes left in the game.

The Rangers rallied to climb within three points with five minutes left in the game.

In the final minutes, both teams exchanged the lead several times. The Rangers hit a three-pointer with three minutes left to take their first lead of the half. Roadrunners center Bounama Keita responded with a dunk to retake the lead. Keita finished with six points and a career high 16 rebounds. However, the Rangers were relentless and hit yet another three then drew a foul to take a 76-80 lead.

The back-and-forth scoring frenzy continued with Roadrunners guard Peter Moller draining a shot from beyond the arc to cut the Rangers lead to one. Moller finished the game with 12 points; with six coming from long range.

The momentum stayed on the Roadrunners side with Keita delivering a thunderous block on the other end of the court. The block was followed up by senior guard Brian Howard drawing a
foul that sent him to the line for two. He would only make one to knot the game up at 80 with a minute remaining.

The ensuing play resulted in the Rangers missing a three pointer, but Rangers forward Dexter Sienko tipped in the rebound at the buzzer to send the Roadrunners faithful home with the sour taste of defeat. The play was reviewed for several minutes, but the referees later confirmed that the final shot was off before the buzzer.

The Roadrunners will have a full week to reflect on the disappointing loss. The next time they take the court will be to face the UCCS on Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Author: Kenny Martinez

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