Dominguez helps Mavs rally to stay undefeated

Being down 10 points with 11 1/2 minutes to play Saturday didn’t rattle the Mesa State College men’s basketball team.

It sure didn’t rattle Michael Dominguez, who scored 30 of his 33 points in the second half to lead the No. 22 Mavericks to a 78-68 victory over Central State (Ohio) University in the first round of the Quincy (Ill.) University Holiday Tournament. Dominguez’ 33 points are the second-most scored in the 10-year history of the Quincy tourney.

“I don’t know what it is about this team, if it’s that we don’t play well in the first half or if we play really well in the second half,” associate head coach Andy Shantz said.

The Mavericks took a one-point lead late in the first half but gave it back when the Marauders went on a 14-2 run to lead 35-24 at halftime.

“They were a team that likes to play up-tempo and in a good rhythm,” Shantz said. “The first half they hit some jump shots and they were in a good rhythm, felt comfortable. They had the lead and we chipped away and chipped away and they lost their composure a little bit. They got a couple of technicals in the second half and were bickering a little bit and our guys just kept it together.”

Central State led 50-40 with 11:29 to play, but the Mavericks tied the game five minutes later. Aaron Markham came up with a steal and Jase Herl found Justin Ashbaugh for a layup and a 57-55 lead with 6:07 to play.

Mesa’s defense caused the Marauders to shoot only 35 percent from the field in the second half.

The Mavericks shot 69.6 percent in the second half — Dominguez hit 8 of 10 from the field and 11 of 15 from the free-throw line.

“He had one of those types of halves,” Shantz said. “When he gets it going, he’s tough to guard. He’s not a one-dimensional player. He’s a good perimeter shooter and he’s tough off the dribble and that makes him hard to handle.”

Herl added 13 points and Markham nine.

The Mavericks (9-0) play No. 24 Quincy University (9-0) at 4:15 (MST) today in the championship game. Quincy routed Truman (Mo.) State 89-60.

“The styles are very similar, they play gap defense, run a lot of motion,” Shantz said of the Hawks. “They’re really good. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for us.”


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