By Brad Blume, Sports Information Director
PHOENIX, Ariz. --- The South Dakota School of Mines men's basketball team closed out its Southwestern road trip with a big win over the Arizona Christian Firestorm, 90-80, Saturday afternoon in Phoenix, Ariz.
The victory was the 10th on the season for the Hardrockers and it was also their highest offensive output of the year and it ruined the Firestorm's seven-game winning streak.
The Hardrockers played very well Saturday as well as the entire road trip that saw them compete in five games in a week's time. SD Mines played some very quality opponents on their trip and came away with a 2-3 record.
SD Mines began their journey last Friday in Hays, Kan., against Fort Hays State (defeated 60-85), and then traveled to Nebraska to take on the University of Nebraska-Kearney (defeated 74-86). From there the Hardrockers hopped a plane to Arizona and jumped on a bus to Los Angeles, Calif. where they defeated Azusa Pacific Univeristy after mounting an impressive comeback (61-59) followed by a contest in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the visitors had arguably one of the greatest comebacks in the program's history only to fall short in overtime on a last-second desperation shot at the hands of the NAIA No. 5 ranked Westmont College (71-73).
The Hardrockers had to play catch-up again Saturday as SD Mines trailed by as much as 10 points in the middle of the first half, but chipped it down to a two-point deficit by halftime, 36-34. SD Mines went on to outscore Arizona Christian, 56-44, in the second period.
The Hardrockers shot 59 percent from the field connecting on 27-46 baskets while the Firestorm converted 31-68 for 46 percent. SD Mines also had a good performance from the foul line, draining 30-38 for 79 percent. The Firestorm made good on 15-17 for 73 percent.
Individually, the Hardrockers saw five players reach double figures Saturday. Junior Caleb Shockman had an outstanding game with 21 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and a blocked shot. Senior AJ Trennepohl, who was fighting through an injury, posted 16 points, one steal and one assist, while freshman Konor Kulas put up 13 points, eight rebounds and two assists and senior James Dean and freshman Troy Whiteto both contributed with 10 points.
The Hardrockers are now 10-6 on the season and finally get the opportunity to play a few games in the friendly confines of Goodell Gymnasium. SD Mines plays host to Valley City State Monday and then welcome Jamestown College Friday and Dakota State Saturday at the King Center in Rapid City.