Grizzlies show they have some teeth with upset of Mavericks
Without senior guard Jase Herl, the Mesa State College men’s basketball team has floundered, losing their second straight game, this time to the worst team in the RMAC, Adams State.
The Grizzlies (5-19, 2-14 RMAC) led nearly the entire game in an 87-84 upset of the Mavericks (20-3, 14-2), who were trying to clinch the RMAC West Division title.
The loss could cost the Mavericks the No. 1 spot in the Central Region with only three games left in the regular season and the conference tournaments coming up.
As they’ve done the past four games, the Mavericks fell behind early, trailing by a dozen points in the first half before cutting it to seven at halftime on a 3-pointer by Michael Dominguez with two seconds left.
That momentum, though, didn’t carry over in the second half. Adams State built the lead back to 11 before Mesa rallied in the final 12 minutes.
Michael Bear tipped in a miss with 7:05 to play to finally tie the game, 65-65, and with 3:49 left. The Mavericks took their biggest lead of the game, 75-71, on a jumper by Dominguez, who led all players with 37 points, tying his career high.
Unlike other games this season, though, the Grizzlies didn’t go away. Instead, they went on a 14-4 run in a three-minute span to lead 85-79 with 24 seconds to play.
Brian Kenshalo hit a 3 for the Mavs with 17 seconds left but Nick Fox made one of two free throws for Adams for an 86-82 lead.
Dominguez was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 3.9 seconds left and made the first two free throws, cutting the lead to 86-84. A timeout by the Mavs set up the strategy for Dominguez to miss the third free throw, which he did, but Eric Miller grabbed the rebound for Adams.
He was quickly fouled and missed the first free throw, but made the second with 3.1 seconds left.
The Mavericks were able to get a shot before the buzzer, but Sean Flohr’s 3-pointer to tie the game missed.
Mesa forward Lance Fite shook off his scoring slump, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds. Kenshalo added 12 points in his second start in place of Herl, out with a sprained right ankle.
Adams State’s size took its toll, with the Grizzlies grabbing 41 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end, in a 60-51 victory.
Depth was also a factor — the Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Mavs’ reserves 25-11, and Adams State had 24 points in the paint to the Mavs’ 12.
Alaina Brennan, who moved into the starting lineup after her 21-point performance last week at Western New Mexico, played all but 52 seconds of the game, leading Mesa State with 16 points and five rebounds.
After shooting 40 percent in the first half and trailing by only five, 34-29, Mesa State’s offense stalled in the second half. The Mavericks (8-15, 5-11 RMAC) made only 7 of 22 shots in the second half (31.8 percent).
On the other end, the Grizzlies (18-5, 12-4) shot nearly 44 percent from the field for the game.
Crystal Loch led Adams State with 15 points off the bench; Kendra Coveal and Kelsie Kruger had 14 each.
A 3-pointer by Meagan Selvidge with 4:28 to play cut Adams State’s lead to five, 54-49, but two turnovers and a missed jumper led to six straight Adams State points over the next two minutes to seal the victory.
Selvidge had 11 points for Mesa State, which plays sixth-ranked Fort Lewis tonight. in Durango and Hannah Breidel had eight off the bench.