Westminster basketball: Griffins take down Chadron State to sweep at Thanksgiving Classic

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Nov. 24 2012 10:27 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY – The 13th-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team picked up a 94-69 win over Chadron State (Neb.) on Saturday night in the final game of the Westminster Thanksgiving Classic.

Westminster has now won four straight and sits at 8-1 overall on the season. The Griffins have won all four games by a combined total of 108 points and have trailed for just 14 seconds in the four games.

“We played our tempo tonight and were sharp offensively in the first half,” head coach Adam Hiatt said. “Once a few guys got it going early everyone else started to feel comfortable.”

The Griffins opened the game with an alley-oop dunk from Colton Moon to Alex Drecksel. After Chadron State (0-4) got a jumper from Zac Bargen, Westminster went on a 21-10 run capped by a three from Jordan Pryor to push the lead to 15 with 4:25 to play in the half. Westminster would get the lead to 20 at halftime as Jake Orchard nailed a three from the corner that bounced on the rim four times before falling in at the horn.

The two teams played the second half fairly even before a 15-7 run by Chadron State late in the period cut the Griffins lead to 79-61 with 5:29 to play. Westminster responded with 12 consecutive points, including a 3-point play from Orchard and another triple from Moon to push the advantage to 30 with 2:26 remaining.

Orchard led three Griffins in double figures with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Blake Skidmore added 14 points and six assists off the bench with Drecksel scoring 10. All 12 players that got in the game scored at least three points for the Griffins.

As a team, Westminster shot 56.5 percent from the floor and made 14-of-27 (51.9 percent) from beyond the arc. The Griffins scored 36 points in the paint and turned eight offensive rebounds into 14 points. The Griffins recorded 23 assists on 35 field goals and committed just 14 turnovers. The defense held Chadron State to 44.2 percent shooting and turned their 21 turnovers into 24 points.

“I thought we guarded really well tonight,” Hiatt stated. “I was really impressed with how we rotated on defense and like the way we played on that end.”

Bergen led the Eagles with 19 points and made all three of his shots from beyond the arc. Justyn Anderson finished with 14 points, and Grant Stone scored 12 off the bench.

Westminster now looks forward to the Frontier Conference opener on Dec. 1 against Montana Western in the Behnken Field House. The action tips at 7:30 p.m. and fans that bring two cans of food will receive 2-for-1 admission.

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