As the leading rebounder and one of the leading scorers of last season’s record turnaround team, New Mexico Highlands post Chris Dunn made a major impact on the Cowboys’ fortunes in 2008-09.
On Saturday, Dunn picked up where he left off. The athletic, rambunctious forward tallied 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks to lead the Cowboys to a 76-60 win over Carroll College, an NAIA school from Montana, on a neutral court in Denver.
Roman Andrade (14), Mindaugas Markevicius (13), Kelvin Franklin (12) and Chop Tang (11) scored in double figures as well; Rashad Peterson added eight points, nine boards and four assists and Ledreece Smith rounded out the scoring with four.
It was the first game back for Dunn and Peterson, starters on last year’s NMHU lineup that finished with 20 wins, an NCAA record 18-game improvement from the previous season.
Highlands shot just 31 percent in the first half and trailed 35-28 at intermission Saturday.
Andrade, held to three points in the opening period, scored 11 in the second half to rally the Cowboys to victory.
NMHU made a living on the foul line, going 22 of 27 for the game. And after the cool start, the team shot at a 48 percent clip in the second half.
Chris Medina led Carroll with 21 points, 16 of them in the first half.
In its previous game on Friday night, Carroll had come close to upsetting nationally ranked Metro State on its home floor, the Auraria Event Center.
Next, the Cowboys seek a measure of revenge when they play at West Texas A&M on Dec. 29 in Canyon, Texas. The Buffaloes beat NMHU 89-87 in overtime Nov. 17 in Las Vegas. The team resumes league play Jan. 8 at Colorado Christian.