By Noah Johnson
The Colorado College men’s basketball team wrapped up their final home weekend with two big wins over Schreiner University and Trinity University. Those two wins propelled the Tigers to 8-14 overall and 6-10 in Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference competition this season. In these final games of the seniors’ careers at Reid Arena, the class rallied together to put up impressive numbers.
On Friday, Feb. 14, the Tigers fought to a 87-69 victory over Schreiner University, with an impressive display of three-point shooting sealing the deal. The visiting Mountaineers soared out to a 17-9 lead through the first six and a half minutes of the game, but the Tigers surged back to lead 43-32 after Aaron Acosta ’22 nailed a corner three as time expired.
The Tigers dominated the majority of the second half after Schreiner chipped the lead to 10 points 1:43 into the second. Acosta racked up six three-pointers on his way to a 22-point night. Nabeel Elabdeia ’20 went 4-6 from behind the arc while he finished with a season-high 12 points. CooXooEii Black ’20 recorded his 10th double double of the season with 26 points and 13 rebounds on the night.
“The focus of the last few games has been defense, stringing stops together and turning the defense into offense,” said Acosta. “We have started to set the tempo of games which is allowing us to get big wins.”
The following day, the Tigers hosted conference rivals Trinity University for Senior night. One last time, the Tiger Seniors donned the jerseys and took to the court here at Reid Arena. Black said, “I wouldn’t say that it was sad, it was a celebration of the work this senior class has put in these past four years.” On a bittersweet night, the CC senior class showed up and showed out, combining for 35 of the 75 points on the night. The CC Tigers defeated the visiting Trinity Tigers 75-52 on the night.
The contest was fairly close throughout, up until CC was able to spring out to a 24-point lead with three minutes remaining in the second. Black had another standout game, putting up 20 points and 14 rebounds, for his 11th triple double on the season. His performance pushed him into an elite group, becoming only the fourth player in the history of the SCAC to reach 1500 points and 700 rebounds. When asked about his performance this past weekend, Black responded that he is “blessed to have an opportunity to have such a big contribution. I have to thank the team for believing in me.”
These two wins were monumental for the Tigers, as they have now won their last three matches. In contrast to a somewhat slower start to the season, the Tigers now appear to be in full swing. When asked about what led to this change in momentum, Head Coach Andy Partee commented, “The only thing that has changed is our consistency in playing the way we are capable of playing for 40 minutes.” Partee also noted that “we’ve seen flashes of the team that has emerged lately in so many close losses, five of which were by one possession.”
The Tigers improved to 6-10 in SCAC competition and are pushing for a strong weekend away at Southwestern and Texas Lutheran this coming Friday and Saturday. The Tigers still have the chance to move into the coveted sixth place berth to compete in the SCAC tournament, which will be hosted by Schreiner University from Feb. 28 – March 1. Coach Partee firmly believes that the Tigers “can’t help but feel extremely confident going into the final weekend of conference play. It’s a great time to be playing our best basketball.”