Mavs snap 5-game road losing streak
Colorado Mesa University’s men’s basketball team has had opportunities to steal a couple of wins on the road this season, but it didn’t happen.
Saturday, it happened.
Sophomore guard Kevin Screen hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to lift the Mavericks to a 70-68 victory over Colorado Christian in Lakewood. Colorado Mesa (9-8, 7-6 RMAC) ended a five-game road losing streak.
“It’s really exciting to see (Screen) win it,” CMU associate head coach Andy Shantz said. “He’s a great kid. He’s done a great job for us. He’s one of those kids you want to root for. His two free throws hit nothing but the net. I’m sure he felt like the weight of the entire team was on his shoulders. That shows you how tough he is.”
The Cougars tied the game 68-68 with 1:31 left and had an opportunity to win it after a defensive steal, but missed a 3-pointer with 36 seconds left.
“It is amazing how things are compounded when it’s not going well,” Shantz said. “You begin to see doubt. It looked like we got some of that look out of us.”
Colton Burgon led Mesa with 19 points, 10 in the second half. Mike Melillo scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Shawn King scored 10 and Screen added nine.
Kyle Weaver led the Cougars with 18 points. Daniel Pilkington scored 17 and Josh McBeth nine.
Burgon gave the Mavericks a lift with leading scorer Michael Bear in foul trouble most of the night. Bear was limited to four points in 13 minutes.
“Mike had to come out early in the first half with two fouls and again early in the second half with a third,” Shantz said. “Colton hit some tough shots. Everyone hit free throws tonight.”
The Mavericks needed the lift from Burgon and the bench, which combined to score 33 points, because Colorado Christian shot well enough (41.1 percent) and hit enough 3-pointers (nine) and free throws (13 of 16) to hang with CMU.
The teams were tied 11 times and exchanged leads seven times. Neither team led by more than seven.
“They) played really well,” Shantz said of Colorado Christian (2-15, 1-12 RMAC). “They hit some shots when they needed them.
“Our depth helped us. We got some of those 50-50 balls tonight.”
Mesa scored on three consecutive possessions early in the second half to lead 45-40, but couldn’t pull away.
The Mavs made 15 of 18 free throws (83.3 percent) and shot 52 percent from the floor.