By Brad Blume
Sports Information Director
South Dakota School of Mines
RAPID CITY --- The South Dakota School of Mines men’s basketball team spent the entire month of December on the road competing against some of the area’s toughest teams.
The Hardrockers (8-9) finally got to play at home in the King Center this past weekend and it appears that the time away has really paid off as the ‘Rockers posted two conference wins to find themselves at the top of the DAC standings with an 3-0 record. They are also undefeated when playing at home in Goodell Gymnasium with a 6-0 mark.
With the short home stand behind them, South Dakota Mines heads back on the road this weekend for conference bouts with Mayville State Friday and Dakota State on Saturday.
Friday’s matchup could be the one of toughest to date for Mines facing a Comet team that is 11-6 overall (2-1 in DAC). The North Dakota squad has a variety of weapons and boasts a roster that has six players averaging double figures.
As a team the Comets are tearing up the DAC, leading the conference in five different categories. The most impressive of those would be scoring offense. The Comets are averaging 86.6 points a game. They also are at the top in offensive rebounds (682, averaging 40.12 a game), assists (306 total, 18 a game), steals (187 total, 11 a game) and turnover margin.
Senior Monty Rodgers paces the Comets, amassing 296 points on the season and averaging 18.50 a game. He is currently second in the DAC standings in scoring.
Teammate and fellow senior Matthew Stenehjem is also a productive player for Mayville with 201 points on the season, collecting 12.56 a game.
Add in senior shooting guard Andy Parochka, who is first in the DAC for three-point goals made (43 total, averaging 2.96) and the Comets look to be red hot.
Saturday’s game looks to be a little different. The Trojans have had a tough go of it this year. Heading into the weekend they post a record of 1-15 (0-3 in DAC).
The Trojans are suffering through a 15-game losing streak. After winning their first game of the season over Dana College, it’s been a nose dive for the Madison squad. But they have played some very tough competition in the non-conference schedule, including an exhibition bout with NCAA Division I South Dakota State, where it proved to be a very competitive game.
Individually, Dakota State has the conference’s leading scorer in Joe Backus. Backus has 303 total points on the season, averaging 18.9 a game. He also is the DAC’s rebounding leader, tallying 119 for the season, which averages to be 7.44 a game.
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Devereaux Library. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.