Mavs shock Metro
Colorado Mesa plays well to top No. 3 Roadrunners
Colorado Mesa University’s leading scorer was out, but it didn’t matter.
The Mavericks men’s basketball team picked it up Saturday without starting forward Michael Bear, who sprained his right ankle Friday night, defeating No. 3 Metro State 64-47 in front of 1,123 raucous fans at Brownson Arena.
Metro State (17-3, 12-3 RMAC) lost back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 12-13, 2009. Western State defeated the Roadrunners 70-66 on Friday in Gunnison.
“It’s obviously a loss having Mike out, but we have so many guys that can step up,” CMU junior Colton Burgon said. “We have eight, nine, 10 guys that can score double figures every night. If someone has a good shot, pass it for an open layup. We’re such an unselfish team. If we play like this and play together, we’re a tough team to beat.”
Burgon helped pick up the scoring slack, leading the Mavericks (11-8, 9-6 RMAC) with 17 points. Mike Melillo added 12, but it was a collaborative effort with nine players scoring for the Mavericks.
“We’ve never been a one-man team,” CMU coach Jim Heaps said. “We know the kind of players we have up and down our lineup. I had no doubt our kids would show up and play basketball and in different roles.
“We relied on our defense to get stops consistently and our offense, when we moved the ball, you can see the shots we got and the offense we ran.”
As important it was for others to pick up the scoring slack, it was vital for Mesa to play good defense. The Mavericks did.
Mesa limited the Roadrunners to a season-low 47 points. Metro State shot 34.5 percent from the floor and turned the ball over nine times in the second half.
Metro guard Reggie Evans, the RMAC preseason player of the year, scored a game-high 20 points, but took 19 shots. Six-foot-8 post player Jonathan Morse, who averaged 14.4 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game entering the weekend, was limited to four points and zero rebounds.
“We were afraid of foul trouble and were able to avoid it,” Heaps said. “Both Chandler (Burgon) and Blake (Francom) did a really good job on (Morse). Their post players never really got in a rhythm. I thought Jeff Hart and Nate Nelson did a great job on Evans. He’s such a talent and great player, I thought that was a big key.”
Morse has 86 offensive rebounds this season.
“That’s as many as me, Chandler and Mike Bear combined,” Colton Burgon said. “We played great D on him. Coach said, make him shoot over you and don’t jump up on his pump fakes. That’s what we did and it worked for us.”
Colton Burgon got the Mavericks going in the second half, scoring on three consecutive possessions in a 12-0 run to take a 42-32 lead with 8:31 left in the game.
The Mavericks pushed the lead to 16 with 3:06 left and kept it in double figures the rest of the way.
“We came together and decided we’re going to try to win out the rest of the season,” Melillo said. “This one shows us we can do that if we keep playing together and play hard.”
Saturday’s win snapped Mesa’s three-game losing streak against the Roadrunners. In the 2009-10 season, Mesa beat Metro twice when the Roadrunners were nationally ranked.
“If you’ve been around the sport as long as I’ve been, you know you’ve got to show up and play,” Heaps said. “You’ve got to play the way you’re taught and you’ve got to do it every night. If you don’t, every team is more than capable of beating any team.
“That’s the beauty of the RMAC. It’s a 22-game season. It’s a long stretch. It’s a grind-it-out type of season. The tough teams are the ones that end up winning conference championships.”