Mesa men get tough to defeat Rangers
Sheer will, determination and a good dose of stubbornness kept the Mesa State College men’s basketball team undefeated Saturday night with a 74-61 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference victory over Regis University.
The Mavericks (7-0, 3-0 RMAC) were a little flat defensively early and Regis, trying to get legendary coach Lonnie Porter his 500th career victory, struck quickly behind Matt Rosinski.
The 6-foot-2 senior guard scored 17 of his 24 points in the first half as the Rangers (2-3, 0-3 RMAC) built a 23-16 lead.
Midway through the second half, the Mavericks made a defensive switch, putting Michael Dominguez on Rosinski instead of Jase Herl, making him try to drive and shoot over the long arms of the Mavs’ 6-3 senior.
The move paid off — after scoring the Rangers’ first five points of the second half, Rosinski scored only two points the rest of the way, both on free throws.
It also freed Herl up to rebound — he had 10, nine on the defensive end.
And as the Mavs clamped down on Rosinski, Herl was just getting started.
The senior guard went coast-to-coast after grabbing defensive rebounds twice in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The first pulled the Mavericks within one, 44-43, with 15:59 on the clock.
After Lance Fite tipped in a miss by Michael Dominguez 25 seconds later, the Mavs had their first lead of the night, 45-44.
Mesa State opened the second half on a 13-9 run, with Lance Fite scoring five points, Herl four and Dominguez a nice spinning scoop in traffic.
With the success they had inside, the Mavericks never stopped attacking the basket in the second half.
Only two baskets came outside the paint, both 3-pointers by Brian Kenshalo, the first one sealing the victory.
Michael Bear battled his way inside for nine hard-fought points, getting fouled on three dunk attempts, the final one falling but being waved off. With just more than five minutes to play, Bear had Bill Brandenburg pinned on the low block and spun in for the two-handed jam, much to the delight of the students who are still in town after final exams ended this week.
The ball bounced high off the rim as Bear was fouled, then dropped through the net. After conferring, the officials waved off the basket and awarded two free throws, which Bear made for a 59-50 lead.
About one minute later, he took a pass inside and scored for a 61-50 lead.
After a pair of free throws, Regis jumped in its press, but Dominguez spied Kenshalo, who was open in the corner and hit a 3 to give the Mavs a 12-point lead.
Herl finished with 21 points, hitting eight of nine from the field. Dominguez added 16 and Lance Fite 15 for the Mavericks, who play Metro State at 7 tonight.