Metro State advances to third regional title game in a row, downs Colo. Mines
DENVER -- Top-seed Metro State built a 13-point halftime lead and cruised to an 86-82 win against fourth-seed Colorado Mines to advance to its third consecutive regional championship game on Sunday night. The Roadrunners improved to 30-1 overall with their 27th consecutive win, while Mines ended its season at 25-5.
Metro State will face No. 23 Midwestern State in the South Central Region championship on Tuesday at the Auraria Event Center.
For the second consecutive night, Brandon Jefferson reached the 30-point plateau with exactly 30 points. He scored 37 on Saturday in a first-round win against Colorado-Colorado Springs. He is the first Roadrunner to score 30-plus points in consecutive games since Gene Edwards in 1990.
Jefferson made all 11 of his free-throw attempts and 8 of 17 from the floor.
Joining Jefferson in double figures was Mitch McCarron (16 points), Nicholas Kay (14) and Jamal McClerkin (10). McCarron and Kay each had a game-high nine rebounds and McClerkin had seven as the Roadrunners outrebounded CSM 40 to 31.
Metro State outshot the Orediggers 48.3 percent to 41.7 percent, overcoming a minus-four turnover margin. MSU Denver is fourth in the nation in turnover margin.
Metro State put together a complete first half to lead 46-33 at the break after shooting 53.6 percent from the floor, outrebounding the Orediggers 18-15 and committing just three turnovers. The Roadrunners used a 25-9 run midway through the first half to lead 34-16 with 6:11 left.
MSU Denver opened a 59-43 lead with 13:50 remaining, but Mines responded with a 10-4 run to get within 12 points.
Leading 77-65 with 3:51 remaining, Metro State was outscored 12-4 in the next 2:23 as CSM got within four points with 28 seconds to go. The Orediggers climbed within three points at 85-82 on a 3-pointer by Brett Green with 11 seconds to go.
Sam Porter made it a two-possession game by hitting 1 of 2 at the line with 6.7 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Green led Colorado Mines with 16 points and five assists.