Turnovers hurt in Colorado Mesa’s loss to Seattle Pacific
Only two games into the season, the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team got a true test Saturday, facing No. 22 Seattle Pacific University in the second round of the Dixie State Classic.
The Mavericks built a 25-18 halftime lead, only to fall victim to turnovers and a flurry of 3-pointers by the Falcons in a 67-55 loss.
“I don’t know if we played all that well; we played better in the first half than the second,” CMU associate head coach Andy Shantz said. “We defended about as well as we could in the first half but we turned it over too much.”
The Mavericks led 33-28 early in the second half when Seattle Pacific, which upset the University of Arizona in an exhibition game a couple of weeks ago, hit five 3-pointers in a span of less than five minutes. That turned a five-point deficit into a five-point lead when David Downs connected for a 44-39 lead with 10:49 to play.
Seattle Pacific (2-0) built the lead to 12 with 6:18 to play before the Mavericks rallied. Michael Bear hit a jumper and was fouled, making the free throw to cut the lead to 57-51 with 3:49 remaining.
Less than a minute later, though, Bear got a steal and a breakaway, going up for a dunk. The shot was blocked by Riley Stockton and Bear was called for a technical for hanging on the rim. Bear finished with eight points before fouling out. Colton Burgon led the Mavericks with 15 points.
Two free throws after the technical pushed the lead back to eight and the Mavericks couldn’t get back in the game. Downs hit three 3-pointers and went 13 of 14 at the free-throw line, scoring 26 points for Seattle Pacific, and Andy Poling added 20.
“We competed and battled,” Shantz said. “Hopefully our guys grew up a little bit. We got to play against a really good team and got some experience there. Bottom line, we can’t turn it over.”
The Dixie tournament was a week earlier than the Mavs are used to opening the season, but Shantz said that can work in Mesa’s favor.
“It’s a good thing we don’t play until a week from next Friday,” he said. “We’ve got 10, 12 days to work on some things.”
Three Colorado Mesa wrestlers reached the consolation finals and three reached the consolation semifinals in the University of Wyoming’s Cowboy Open.
Nick Petersen, Daniel Romero and Tyler Juby all lost in the consolation finals.
Petersen fell 4-3 to Chadron State’s Jordan Debus in the third-place match at 184 pounds. Romero lost 4-2 to Danny Luttrell, who was wrestling unattached, in the consolation finals at 125 pounds.
Juby, a sophomore at CMU who was wrestling unattached, lost 11-0 in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Shane Onufer of Wyoming at 165 pounds.
In the consolation quarterfinals, Juby defeated teammate Dylan Granard. Juby lost 7-3 in the consolation finals to Cal Poly’s Steve Vasquez.
At 157 pounds, Jon Gappmaier lost in the quarterfinals of the main draw to Nebraska-Kearney’s TJ Hepburn 4-2, then reached the consolation semifinals. He lost that match to Wyoming’s Robert Stroh 9-5.
Former Meeker state champion Joe LeBlanc of Wyoming won the 184-pound elite title with a 3-2 decision over Jake Swartz of Boise State.
In the amateur division (for collegiate wrestlers with less than two years of experience), Colorado Mesa’s James Martinez reached the semifinals at 149 pounds with two pins. He lost in the consolation semifinals for a chance at third. Paco Rentana-Quinones reached the semifinals at heavyweight and was eliminated in the consolation semifinals.
Former Olathe state champion Kyle Piatt took third place in the amateur 184-pound division wrestling unattached. The freshman at Western State won by technical fall over the same wrestler who pinned him in the quarterfinals of the main draw.