Mavericks fall in wild finish at Highlands

With only four seconds on the clock in a 79-79 game Saturday night in Las Vegas, N.M., New Mexico Highlands’ Aaryon Williams grabbed a rebound on a missed jumper by Colorado Mesa’s Mike Melillo.

Billy Austin’s shot at the horn slipped through the net for an 81-79 victory.

“(The shot) was late,” CMU associate head coach Andy Shantz said. “It was a physical game that got out of control. That’s how it goes down there.

“What came across from the officials to me is the game got out of control, the shot was close enough, let’s get out of here. (The shooter) wasn’t into his shot when the buzzer went off.”

The loss snapped CMU’s three-game RMAC winning streak.

“You’ve got to go in knowing something like this is going to happen,” Shantz said. “You can make excuses or expect it and deal with it.

“We beat them like six times in a row. It bubbles over. We’re the one team in the conference that had the most success against them.”

A layup by Melillo, who scored 15 points for the Mavericks (5-3, 3-1) with 22 seconds left gave Mesa a 79-76 lead.

Austin, though, hit a 3 with 14 seconds left to tie the game. The Mavericks ran the clock down to four seconds, and Melillo’s jumper rimmed out to Williams, who quickly got the ball to Austin, who finished with 22 points, none bigger than the final two.

Michael Bear led the Mavericks with 23 points.

“We turned the ball over too much (26),” Shantz said. “It shouldn’t have come down to the last possession.”

Women

With only 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation Saturday night and the Colorado Mesa University women’s basketball team down three at New Mexico Highlands, Tara Gehring got a pass from Katrina Selsor.

With no hesitation, the senior guard buried a tying 3-pointer to send the game into overtime, and then converted a three-point play early in the extra time to lead the Mavericks to a 75-72 victory.

“She hit it right in front of it and it just looked good from the time she let it go,” CMU coach Roger Walters said.

The game was tied 72-72 in overtime when Hillary Duncan hit one free throw.

With 14.3 seconds to play, Selsor missed a shot inside but got her own rebound and was fouled, hitting both free throws for a 75-72 lead.

Alyssa Lopez missed a pair of 3s in the final seconds.

Mesa (6-2, 4-0 RMAC) played without leading scorer Kelsey Sigl, who sustained a concussion Friday. Bowden started in her place and responded with nine points and six rebounds.

Duncan led Mesa with 16 points, Gehring had 12 and Amy Weitzeil 10. Alaina Brennan added nine points, as did Selsor.

Mesa took a 12-0 lead, but Highlands (4-4, 0-4) jumped in a full-court press and used 22 CMU turnovers to get back in the game.

Even though it wasn’t beautiful tonight by any means, come crunch time we did a lot of good things,” Walters said.


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