Mavericks play well, but lose third straight game without Herl
It was a loss, but the Mesa State College men’s basketball team was back playing well Saturday night in a 79-78 loss at Fort Lewis College.
The Mavericks had the ball with 3.6 seconds left and got the ball past midcourt and called time with 0.9 seconds left.
They tried to set up a lob under the basket to Michael Bear, but couldn’t get the pass where they wanted it and Brian Kenshalo tried to throw up a long 3-pointer at the buzzer that missed.
“We thought we had him but we missed him on the inbounds and had to throw it back,” associate head coach Andy Shantz said.
“We got down 12, 13 and our kids just kept competing and executing and were able to come back and make it a close game and give us a chance to win it. On the road in the RMAC, if you do that on the second night, you’re OK. It just didn’t go our way.”
The Mavericks built a 21-13 lead midway through the first half, but Fort Lewis went on a run to lead 40-34 at halftime, thanks to a flurry of turnovers that kept the Mavericks from converting on the offensive end.
Led by David Kanyida (24 points) and DeAndre Lansdowne (23), the Skyhawks built a 56-44 lead with 12 minutes to play.
Back came the Mavericks. Jeff Hart, whose playing time has gone up in the absence of senior guard Jase Herl, out with a sprained right ankle, hit a pair of buckets around a 3-pointer by Michael Dominguez, and after Aaron Markham came up with a steal, the Mavs had three shots at the basket.
Lance Fite, who played his second straight solid game, missed the first, Dominguez missed the follow, but Fite grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He hit both free throws to cut it to four, 59-55. Markham scored between two free throws and a bucket by Lansdowne, then Hart and Dominguez each hit a pair of free throws.
Justin Ashbaugh went inside for a bucket to cut it to two, 65-63 and Hart came up with a steal and was fouled. He hit both free throws to tie it at 65-65 with six minutes left.
“Jeff did a nice job,” Shantz said. “It’s a frustrating year when you don’t get an opportunity to play too much and he did a nice job, really gave us a lift.”
From then on, the teams staged a typical Mesa State-Fort Lewis game, trading big shot after big shot.
Down one, Dominguez, who finished with 15 points, hit a layup with 2:26 to play for a 76-75 lead but Kanyida scored on the other end.
Fite, who led the Mavericks with 17 points, scored with 27 seconds left to put the Mavs up 78-77.
Lansdowne, though, hit a tough jumper in the lane with 3.9 seconds left and the Mavs called time.
“We thought we had a charge on it,” Shantz said of Lansdowne’s shot. “We thought Lance got it, but you never know. The refs let the kids decide it and it didn’t go our way. It was a tough shot and the kid made it.”
When you play the sixth-ranked team in the nation, things can get away from you in a hurry.
It happened to the Mesa State women’s team, who saw their 20-16 first-half lead disappear in less than a three-minute span in the first half of a 72-54 loss to Fort Lewis.
Mesa State shot nearly 42 percent from the field in the first half, but the Skyhawks shot 48 percent to take a 39-24 halftime lead.
Although the Mavs were only outscored by three in the second half, the final eight minutes of the first half were too much to overcome.
The Skyhawks went on a 19-2 run over the final eight minutes, erasing Mesa’s 22-20 lead after Katie Cupp, who scored a dozen points, hit a driving layup.
Hannah Breidel scored 16 points off the bench for the Mavs.