Coach Coleman said last weekend that getting to eleven wins in conference should get us into the playoffs; that allowed for a split on the road and while there are no easy games and getting a sweep was realistic, you had to expect WNMU could pull out the win last night at Christian. YOu also wanted to see Mines have a tough time against Highlands. Neither happened. So WNMU will have to turn around quickly and recover from a flat 2nd half performance, mostly defensively and on the boards to take on a Mines team that dominated NMHU and is flying high.
The last time these two teams met in Golden WNMU handed Mines their first loss of the season 97-93 and it was a wild and exciting affair. Chad had 24 points on the night, 16 in the second half as he only missed one shot. Earlier this season WNMU got the win over Mines in Silver City 77-66 essentially controling all aspects of the game. We didn’t win the rebounding battle but it was 41-39 so that is a wash. We had 19 assists to only 12 turnovers while limiting CSM to only 9 assists and forcing 15 turnovers to go along with 6 steals.
Juan Saurez led the way with 23 points, 9 assists against 5 turnovers; he got great dribble penetration hitting 6-12 overall and 9-10 from the free throw line. Brelan Berry was the recipient of several assists from Suarez as he was 6-10 for 13 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Te Branch added 12 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 7 assists. Chad had 11 points to go along with 8 boards. It was the kind of performance we thought we’d see more often offensively. We can certainly do it again tonight.
Mines is a different team; when they came to Silver they were early in the season and learning to play without one of their top players as he injured a knee just before the season started. They are scoring about 71 points a game while giving up 74 but their offense is somewhat inconsistent. They scored 90 last night but have been held in the low 60s or even in the 50s several times.
Trevor Wages is the force inside; the 6-9 Jr post player hits 54% of his shots scoring just under 16 a game and grabs 9.6 boards a game. He’s not very good from the line, 62% and doesn’t shoot outside. He only took 5 shots in the first game and got 5 points. Brelan, Chad, Darryl and Te all frustrated him and the guards dug down nicely keeping him from getting in a rhythm. But now he’s got 20 double/doubles on the season and he’ll be looking to get revenge.
The leading scorer for Mines is Luke Meisch, a 6-6 Jr F who likes to play facing the basket. He’s getting 17 a game shooting almost 50% and 40% from deep. He also grabs 8 boards a game and has picked up his scoring as the season goes on. He was 3-10 including 0-4 from downtown in the first game as WNMU frustrated him and kept him out of rhythm.
The third head of the scoring threat for the Orediggers is Brian Muller, 6-5 So G, is continuing to build on a solid freshman season getting 16 a game but only shoots 36% from the floor; 30% from downtown; he’ll put it up quickly and often. He was the big guy in the first contest with 22 points on 8-19 shooting. He can get hot from downtown but was only 3-10 in the first game.
Mines will play a bit slower but can push the ball off of a miss and will, like WNMU look for quick, easy baskets trying to put together runs that can kill the opponents and put games away early. They are long and athletic and a better team that what we saw in December but they are still inconsistent. However, they are at home where they are 10-2 so the Mustangs will have their work cut out for them.