Black Hills State defeats Colorado Mesa to reach Elite 8 of NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament in all RMAC Regional Finals – Reuters Sports News
Tuesday night was a memorable night for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
In an all-RMAC South Central Regional Finals, one school achieved a first, and true to its hashtag, it climbed the hills to do it.
#3 Black Hills State 72, #4 Colorado Mesa 62
Already in a season of historic firsts, Black Hills State of Spearfish, South Dakota will play for the first time in the Elite Eight program, as the Yellow Jackets (25-7) beat Colorado Mesa in the South Dakota final. Central Tuesday at the Rip Griffin. Downtown Lubbock, Texas.
Junior forward Joel Scott, a graduate of Lewis-Palmer High School, had a game-high 20 points and claimed his RMAC Player of the Year award for 2022. Scott has shot 9 of 14 since the floor, grabbed 12 rebounds and committed just one in-game turnover. Guards Adam Moussa also contributed with 15 points and PJ Hayes added 13 points and was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc.
Colorado Mesa (26-9) also had three double-digit players as Jared Small had 16 points, Trevor Baskin had 12 and Reece Johnson had 10, but it wasn’t enough.
The Yellow Jackets, RMAC Tournament champions, weren’t in the phase yet despite qualifying for the first NCAA Tournament in program history. On Tuesday, they never trailed, leading 34-31 at halftime and building on the momentum in the second half as they closed in on Hayes’ 3-point three.
Mesa reached the regional final by upsetting top seed Lubbock Christian 63-62 on Saturday and outscoring No. 2 seed West Texas 91-77, in two wins over Lone Star Conference competition.
This is the second consecutive season that an RMAC school has reached the Elite 8, as the Colorado School of Mines qualified last year. The last time an RMAC school made the Final Four was in 2014, when Metro State reached the national semifinals for the second year in a row. The Roadrunners are the only program in the conference to have won a Division II championship, which last happened in 2002.