Lack of execution costs CMU men

In the end, it wasn’t being short-handed that cost the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team an 83-65 loss Saturday night at Colorado Christian University.

“I don’t even know if minutes were an issue,” associate head coach Andy Shantz said.

“Those kids practice a lot longer than they play in a game. It was a lack of execution. We didn’t play well on either side. We turned it over constantly.”

Colorado Christian, which stunned then-No. 18 Adams State a week ago, forced the Mavericks into 19 turnovers, converting them into 17 points.

“They got physical, got into us, and we didn’t handle it,” Shantz said. “Defensively, we had a hard time staying in front of them.”

The Mavs (13-5, 10-4 RMAC) fell behind early, 19-8, but unlike past games, they couldn’t ever make the run they needed to get back in the game.

“They came out with a bunch of energy,” Shantz said of the Cougars. “I don’t know if they caught us by surprise or not. It’s a different type of gym, a different environment, and we’re not used to it. Their kids played hard and physical, and we didn’t respond.”

The Mavericks were without Daniel Estes, Mike Melillo and Landon Vermeer, leaving them with only one perimeter player off the bench. They found a way to win Friday night in overtime at Colorado School of Mines, but not Saturday.

Clay Kame scored a career-high 17 points and had five assists for the Mavericks. Jeff Hart scored 15 points and led the Mavericks with seven rebounds. Colton Burgon scored 13 points before fouling out.

They clearly missed Melillo’s 10.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Vermeer, who has a back injury, averages 7.7 points a game, and Shawn King has been out since Christmas with a pre-stress fracture in his pelvis.

Estes, the Mavs’ starting point guard, splits time with Kevin Screen running the offense and averages 3.9 points and 2.2 assists per game.

Colorado Christian (10-13, 5-10) led by 15 at the half, 40-25, but the Mavericks chipped away after halftime.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Kame, a free throw by Chandler Burgon and a layup by Mac Alexander cut the deficit to eight, 48-40, with 14 minutes, 40 seconds to play.

“He made some shots,” Shantz said of Kame. “He hit back-to-back 3s, and we cut it to (eight), and then we give up a 3. We just couldn’t make a run at it at any point.”

Kyle Weaver, one of five players to score in double figures for the Cougars, hit that 3-pointer with 14:16 left to push it to 51-40. Weaver finished with 12 points. Josh McBeth hit three 3-pointers and led the Cougars with 15 points.

Colorado Christian’s lead swelled to 18 points midway through the second half and stayed at 14 to 18 points the rest of the way.

Shantz said Saturday was just a bad night that all teams have at some point during the season.

“I think that was one of them. We didn’t play well,” he said. “We were a little short-handed, but again, that’s not the (reason). We just didn’t respond very well tonight.”

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