Burgon's late dunk punctuates Mavs' victory
It’s called posterizing, and it put an exclamation point on the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team’s 75-56 come-from-behind victory Saturday night over Colorado School of Mines.
With 1:10 to play after the Mavericks (9-3, 6-2 RMAC) had rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit, the two premier big men in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, who beat the living daylights out of each other all night, were on the left baseline.
The Mavericks’ Colton Burgon had the ball and Trevor Wages of Colorado Mines came out to challenge him. He overplayed Burgon, though, and the CMU senior forward put the ball on the floor. He drove toward the wide-open basket, throwing the ball down and drawing the foul on Wages.
“He kind of went for a tip and I saw a lane and said, ‘OK, let’s go for it,’ ’’ Burgon said. “I got the dunk and the and-one and got the crowd into it.”
The dunk electrified the crowd as the Mavericks put together a 31-10 run over a span of 8:33 to come back from a 45-41 deficit to lead 72-55 after Burgon’s free throw.
“We stuck in there and crowd and bench got behind us,” senior Jeff Hart said. “It’s a lot of fun when you get into a rhythm like that.”
The job Burgon and Ryan Stephan did on Wages was just what the Mavericks drew up, amazingly holding the RMAC’s leading scorer (19.6 points per game) without a single point. He went 0 for 9 from the field and missed both free-throw attempts, but did have nine rebounds and four assists.
“No points,” Burgon said with a satisfied grin.
“We started off, when he was going to dribble, double-teaming him, but (coach Jim Heaps) gave me a chance to go one-on-one with him if I felt comfortable and if I could keep him far enough out and stay between him and the basket.
“He’s a good player, obviously, but his shots weren’t falling tonight and the shots he was taking were hard, contested shots. I just tried to play my hardest and play as physical as I could. He’s a big, physical kid.”
Burgon and Stephan were as physical as they could be against Wages, not allowing him to catch the ball with space, which he prefers, either putting the ball on the floor for a power move to the rim or using a drop-step to get to the basket.
Instead, he had nowhere to go, so in the first half, he became a facilitator for the Orediggers’ perimeter players. The guards cut to the basket, came off screens and shot 44 percent from the field, building a 10-point halftime lead when the Mavs shot only 26 percent.
The Mavs adjusted defensively in the second half, which led to Mines making only a quarter of its attempts, CMU controlling the boards and getting into its transition game.
And an offensive adjustment paid huge dividends.
“Coach (Andy) Shantz made the adjustment where we slid Colton to the pinch at the elbow to pull Wages out, too, and Colton has been passing out of there well,” Heaps said.
With Burgon posting at the free-throw line, Wages, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound junior, had to come away from the basket, and that opened up the lane for the guards to cut and Burgon to hit them with bounce passes for layups.
As a result, the Mavericks shot 72.7 percent from the field in the second half (16 of 22), hitting 10 of 14 layups. The other six made baskets were 3-pointers (out of six attempts), most of those coming in transition. Mesa outscored Mines 53-24 in the second half.
“We were cutting really hard and all of a sudden everyone was getting wide-open looks under the hoop,” Hart said. “That kind of shook them defensively, they weren’t sure what to do.”
A layup by Burgon gave CMU its first lead, 48-47, with 7:12 to play and the Mavericks didn’t trail again. Mike Melillo hit his only bucket of the game on the next possession, a 3 in transition, and three minutes later the Mavericks were up 10, 62-52, on a layup by Hart, who led the Mavericks with 18 points and seven rebounds.
Burgon, the third-leading scorer in the conference, had five points at halftime but finished with 14. Paul Walter had 11 and Clay Kame 10 points and six rebounds.
Mines (7-4, 4-3) scored only one point from the 5:36 mark of the second half until 2:01 remained, as Mesa extended its lead from 53-52 to 69-53.
“They let us play tonight,” Burgon said. “It was a fun, physical game. The second half was a lot more fun than the first half.”