December 10, 2021 | SPORTS | By Jackson Tanner | Photo by Anil Jergens
Last Saturday, the Colorado College men’s basketball team squared off against the Millsaps Majors. A young team, Millsaps prides themselves on their scrappy play that leads to easy transition buckets. Millsaps was looking to outwork the Tigers for the win. They were not ready for basketball at 6,035 feet.
This past fall, if you happened to be around Washburn Field at sunrise, you probably saw twenty-one basketball players sprinting back and forth across the length of the turf. While Millsaps tried to adjust to the altitude the night before their game, The Tigers were ready to give the Majors pressure since they stepped on campus in August.
The difference in conditioning was evident early in the first half when Millsaps failed to score in their first five possessions, many of which were in transition. Then, the Tigers stepped on the gas and jumped to a 32-14 lead.
Millsaps, a strong rebounding team, was kept off the offensive glass by 10 rebounds from Sam Kinney ’22 (pictured above) and a career high 12 rebounds from Charlie Rounaghi ’23. Kinney also added 10 points to get the double-double, and Rounaghi dished six assists.
In the second half, a career performance by Drew Roth helped the Majors cut through CC’s lead. With under six minutes left in the game, Millsaps took the game to within one and then took the lead on free throws. There was a moment where the crowd felt like the momentum would swing.
In past seasons, CC might have folded. Yet, Scott Cunningham ’22 took matters into his own hands and streaked down the right side for a layup.
Cunningham and Scott Reugg ’25 went on to go basket-for-basket with Millsaps, stomping on their run. Cunningham and Ruegg finished with 16 and 21 points respectively, and an impressive combined three-point percentage of 55 percent.
When the second-half buzzer sounded, the Tigers had kept the Majors to just 26 percent from the field and earned a decisive win heading into conference play.
Reugg has showcased more and more of his versatile scoring ability as the season has progressed. He credited his mentors with his confidence.
“All of the seniors have had full trust in me,” Reugg said.
Not only has Reugg improved his numbers offensively, but he has established himself on the defensive end. Both Reugg and Rounaghi were tasked with guarding Millsaps’ best player, Cameron Williams, and forced him to take tough, contested shots all night.
“If you stay in the principles that Coach Conarroe teaches, it is hard for them to get by you,” Reugg said.
Reugg was not the only one to talk up his head coach, Jeff Conarroe. Cunningham also expressed his gratitude for Conarroe.
“He instills belief in us, and is continuing to help us gain confidence,” Cunningham said.
Since becoming head coach, Conarroe has kept CC basketball’s goal clear: to win the program’s first SCAC championship. Cunningham and the other Tigers are bought in.
“The clock starts now. It will be exciting to show the conference what we are about this year,” Cunningham said.
The Tigers will have their first opportunity against St. Thomas at 4:00 p.m. on Friday Dec. 10.