KUSA -Brandon Jefferson had a career night to lead the top-seeded Metro State men to a 76-72 win over CU-Colorado Springs in the opening round of the NCAA Division II tournament.
Mitch McCarron's hit a jumper that gave the Roadrunners a 25-24 lead, their first of the game, and started a 16-4 run over the next five minutes. By halftime Metro was up 43-34.
But UCCS tied the game at 68-all with 2:55 left in the second half. McCarron and Jefferson combined to make six free throws in the final minutes, and McCarron added a layup, to hold off the Mountain Lions.
Jefferson finished with a career-high 37 points, including 15-of-15 from the line, and McCarron added 19 points.
"We work on free-throw situations every day in practice, in terms of pressurized free throws," MSU coach Derrick Clark said. "Some of free throws were 1-and-1's – you miss the front end of those 1-and-1's, a dangerous game – but we train to make those."
The Roadrunners (29-1) next play Colorado Mines at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night in the semifinals of the South Central Regional. The fourth-seeded Orediggers beat St. Mary's (Texas) 90-67. The region championship game is Tuesday.