Heaps takes blame for Metro loss

Coaches, as a rule, are self-incriminating. They dissect every aspect of a game, and more often than not, end up pointing the finger at themselves after a tough loss.

That was the case last weekend with Colorado Mesa men’s basketball coach Jim Heaps.

When he reviewed Friday night’s 64-52 loss to top-ranked Metro State, at first, he knew the Mavericks didn’t execute well, especially early in the game, and then again late.

The early troubles were, in part, because the Mavericks were sped up in the half-court offense by Metro State’s defense.

The problems late in the game, after the Mavericks had climbed out of a 16-point deficit to take the lead?

That one, Heaps said Saturday night, is on him.

“We didn’t play very well, I didn’t coach very well,” he said after the Mavericks cruised past Regis 77-45.

“I got away from doing the things rotation-wise that we’ve been doing, playing 25 minutes a game, nine people, 10 people. I shrunk our bench way down, I played some people way too many minutes and they got tired.”

It wasn’t that Heaps didn’t think his second wave off the bench couldn’t hang with Metro. It was a case of this group is playing well, let’s not mess with success.

The cumulative effect, though, showed in those final 8-10 minutes.

The Mavs started the second half down 13 points. Ten minutes later, the game was tied. About five minutes into the half, Heaps went to the bench, as usual. The final 10 minutes, though, subs were few and far between.

Three starters, Mike Melillo, Colton Burgon and Daniel Estes, played 30 minutes or more. Jeff Hart played 29, Paul Walter 24. None of them average more than 28 minutes.

“That’s why, at the eight-minute mark, they pulled away,” Heaps said.

Melillo, who played 10 more minutes than his season average, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8:43 to play.

Mesa scored only four points after that. Metro scored 19 to remain undefeated.

“Every game we’ve played this year, at the eight-minute mark, we’ve pulled away,” Heaps said. “We’ve won the last 10 minutes because of our depth. I told them that was my fault. I got away from what we do, too. You did, I did.

“(Saturday) we got back to everybody playing in the mid-20s and everybody contributing.”

Granted, there’s a sizeable difference in talent level between Metro State and Regis. However, with no Maverick playing more than 27 minutes Saturday, they pushed their lead from 24 to as many as 34 in the final 10 minutes.

“That’s what we do, that’s just our system, that’s our style,” Heaps said.

Something tells me if the Mavs face Metro again, say, in the RMAC Shootout, you’ll see that “line change” mentality throughout the game. And every other game this season.

Rankings: The top six teams in the USA Today/WBCA women’s basketball rankings remained the same this week, with CMU (17-0, 13-0 RMAC) still No. 4.

Ashland (Ohio) University (21-0) received all 31 first-place votes to hold firm at No. 1. Bentley (Mass.) University (17-0) and Clayton (Ga.) State (18-0), the other two undefeated teams in the nation, are ranked ahead of the Mavericks.

CSU-Pueblo is the only other RMAC team mentioned, receiving three votes.

In the men’s National Association of Basketball Coaches poll, Metro State (17-0) is still No. 1, Fort Lewis (14-2) is No. 14 and Adams State (13-3) ranked 23rd.

Colorado Mesa received eight votes, down from 12 last week.

The Mavericks play Friday night at Colorado School of Mines and Saturday night at Colorado Christian as they begin the second half of the home-and-home portion of the conference schedule.

National stats: The CMU women are second in the nation in scoring margin, outscoring opponents by 20.7 points a game, sixth in rebound margin (plus 10.1) and eighth in scoring defense (52.2 ppg).

Sharaya Selsor is second in 3-point percentage (47.1) and Kelsey Sigl ninth in field-goal percentage (57.2).

Women’s lacrosse: Colorado Mesa is picked to finish fourth in the Western Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association preseason poll, released Tuesday.

The Mavericks finished fourth in the WILA last season, going 3-11 (2-6 WILA).

Lindenwood (Mo.) University is favored to defend its WILA title with four first-place votes.

Regis received two first-place votes and is picked second. Fort Lewis is picked third.

Colorado Mesa sophomore midfielder Rachael Sutton was a preseason All-WILA pick.

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