Missed opportunities end up costing CMU men in loss to Adams State
With seven minutes to play Monday night, it was there for the taking.
The Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team, though, couldn’t take it, losing its second straight game on the road, 84-79 to Adams State University in Alamosa.
The Mavericks (7-3, 4-2 RMAC) trailed 68-66 with 7:05 to play. In the next 2 1/2 minutes, though, Mesa committed one foul, missed a 3-pointer and turned the ball over three times to go down 72-66 with 4:25 to play.
“We were right there and we missed two layups and I want to say four free throws,” CMU associate head coach Andy Shantz said of the Mavs’ several chances in the second half to take control. “If we’re solid through that stretch and go up six, seven, eight points, we can put some pressure on them and make them make plays down the stretch. It didn’t happen.”
Adams State (7-0, 5-0) built the lead to nine points with 1:46 to play but Colton Burgon made one of two free throws, then got a steal when Mesa jumped in a full-court press. He passed ahead to Daniel Estes, who buried a 3-pointer with 46 seconds left, and the Mavericks were down only four, 78-74.
But Mesa could not get a stop on the other end, with Norvell Arnold scoring inside and drawing a foul on Burgon, who was trying to draw a charge.
Arnold, who led the Grizzlies with 22 points, missed the free throw, but Estes missed a 3 on the other end and the Mavs had to foul to stop the clock.
Justin Kauffman made four free throws in the final 14 seconds and despite Clay Kame hitting a layup and a 3, the Mavs couldn’t overcome poor free-throw shooting. Mesa made 19 of 29 from the line, the Grizzlies 26 of 33, for the difference.
“It’s killing us,” Shantz said. “It’s one of those things, we have good free-throw shooters. It’s just a mental glitch right now and it’s contagious. They get in a funk, and just as quickly they can get out of it, and we have to do that.
“If we’re going to be successful and compete for the conference title like we want to, we have to be tough and make them.”
Burgon has struggled the past two weeks at the line, and made only five of 11 on Monday. He finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds.
“He’s the kid you want in the game down the stretch and teams are going to start fouling him just to foul him and put him on the line,” Shantz said. “Colton has a nice stroke. It’s a mental thing. It’s nothing else but practice and repetition. That’s what they’ll do over the break and when they come back we’ll shoot 200 free throws a week.”
Paul Walter scored a season-high 14 points, Mike Melillo added 11 and Estes 10.
“I’m more pleased with our effort and execution tonight,” Shantz said. “We don’t feel like we got that (Sunday night against Fort Lewis). They came out and competed and tried to do what we wanted. We didn’t finish plays when we had to and that cost us.”
The Mavericks will practice today and Wednesday before taking a week off, returning to campus Dec. 27 to prepare for their home game Jan. 4 against Colorado Christian.
“We’ll keep improving and hope our best basketball is in front of us,” Shantz said.