Mavs too much for WNMU
Colton Burgon’s career-high 30 points helped Colorado Mesa’s men’s basketball team rebound Saturday night with a 78-62 victory at Western New Mexico.
After falling Friday night at New Mexico Highlands, the Mavericks trailed only once, 2-0.
The win pushed the Mavericks (17-6, 14-5 RMAC) into third place in the conference ahead of Adams State (15-6, 13-5), which was upset by CSU-Pueblo 67-65 at home Saturday night.
Fort Lewis, which defeated CU-Colorado Springs on Saturday, is alone in second at 14-4 in the conference. Metro State, ranked No. 1 in the nation, remained undefeated with a 21-point win over Regis and is 18-0 in the RMAC. The Roadrunners play at Fort Lewis on Friday night, looking to clinch the conference title.
Mesa, which led 36-32 at the break, scored the first seven points of the second half to go up 11, but the Mustangs closed within two points.
After Andy Sohlich hit a 3-pointer for the Mustangs to cut the lead to 47-45, the Mavs kept the advantage right around six points until Jeff Hart got going. He hit a layup, a jump shot and a 3-pointer in a span of 1 minute, 3 seconds, and suddenly the Mavericks were back in control, 66-55.
That, in turn, opened up Burgon inside again.
Western New Mexico had no answer for the 6-foot-8 senior, who made 13 of 19 shots and four of eight free throws. He had 10 rebounds, blocked two shots, had two steals, six assists and didn’t turn the ball over.
In the final six minutes, when the Mavericks took the lead from eight to 15 points in a minute and a half and pulled away from there, Burgon dominated at both ends of the floor.
He kicked the ball back out to Hart for a 3-pointer at the 6:29 mark for a 66-55 lead, then blocked a shot into the hands of Daniel Estes to start a fast break.
Burgon ran the floor and got the ball from Shawn King in transition for a layup, then followed a miss by King with a tip-in for a 70-55 lead with 5:27 remaining.
And he wasn’t nearly finished. He picked off a pass, leading to two made free throws by Hart, who finished with 17 points, and then Estes came up with a steal.
Again running the floor, the Mavs’ senior center took the pass from Estes for a dunk and a 74-55 lead with 4:53 remaining.
The Mavericks pride themselves on pulling away from teams in the final 10 minutes of the game by using their depth, and that’s what happened Saturday.
Although the bench scored only 11 points, it made the difference defensively, helping to hold Western New Mexico to 37.5 percent shooting. Mesa outrebounded the Mustangs 40-26 and, unlike Friday night, hit free throws.
The Mavericks made 19 of 23 at the line, with only Burgon not connecting on every attempt.
The Mavericks got a lift in the return of King, who has been out the entire second semester with a stress fracture. He played six minutes Friday without scoring, but scored seven points in 19 minutes Saturday.
Mike Melillo added a dozen points, hitting two of the Mavericks’ three 3-pointers. Mesa shot nearly 54 percent from the field, finding the open man, with 20 assists on 28 made baskets.