Mavs’ road woes continue with latest loss to Skyhawks
The road continued to be a problem Saturday for the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team.
Fort Lewis leaped ahead of the Mavericks in the RMAC standings with a 61-50 victory in each team’s RMAC regular season final at Whalen Gymnasium in Durango.
The Mavericks (14-12, 12-10 RMAC) dropped to seventh in the conference and will open the RMAC tournament at No. 2 seed Metro State (22-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“It’s a challenge,” CMU associate head coach Andy Shantz said of having to go on the road for the first round of the RMAC tournament. Mesa is 2-9 on the road this season. “We haven’t played well on the road all year. We’ve been a Jekyll and Hyde team. We not only beat good teams at home, we dominate. Hopefully we can come out with the same swagger we do at home.”
Fort Lewis (15-11, 13-9 RMAC), Chadron State (13-13, 13-9 RMAC) and Nebraska-Kearney (15-11, 13-9 RMAC) are tied for fourth place, with the conference office determining the seeds late Saturday night.
Matt Billups led Fort Lewis with 19 points. Mike Matthews scored 13.
Colton Burgon led Mesa with 20 points. He had 10 rebounds and five blocked shots but also drew a technical foul.
The Mavericks fell behind early, just like Friday night, as Fort Lewis led 18-8 with 10:13 left in the first half.
“The last three weeks we’ve gotten off to a slow start,” Shantz said. “We came back quick and got close, but I don’t know why. We have to get off to a better start.”
Mesa rallied to take the lead with 5:36 left in the first half and kept it until the half, 34-30.
The Skyhawks came out with a smaller lineup in the second half and went on an 18-2 run to lead 48-36 and never looked back.
“They went small and stirred us up,” Shantz said. “We didn’t handle it well.”
Fort Lewis forced Mesa into 23 turnovers, leading to 26 points.
The Mavericks shot 48.8 percent from the floor and limited the Skyhawks to 37 percent.