Mavs win opener in overtime
It’s never a usual cast of characters for the Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team, and Friday night’s season opener was no different.
The Mavericks gutted out an 82-81 overtime victory over Fresno Pacific University in the first game of the Dixie State Classic in St. George, Utah.
Mike Melillo came through with 19 points and center Colton Burgon had 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Jeff Hart ended up with 13 points, but it was the bench play of Landon Vermeer that pushed the Mavericks past the Sunbirds.
The sophomore guard scored 19 points, including a jumper late in overtime to tie the game, going 7 of 8 from the field. He added three 3-pointers.
“The last year or two we’ve told him to be more aggressive,” associate head coach Andy Shantz said. “He’s a real conscientious kid; he takes a back seat to some of our guys. He’s one of those kids we’ve gotten more mad at for not shooting. We’ve never gotten mad at him for taking a shot; it’s he didn’t shoot enough. He likes to defer to his teammates, but he has that ability.”
His bucket with 1:11 to play in overtime tied the game again, this time at 81-81, and Fresno Pacific turned the ball over with just less than a minute to play.
Colton Burgon was fouled with 30 seconds left and hit the back end of a two-shot foul for an 82-81 lead.
Fresno Pacific’s John Taylor missed a jumper with 11 seconds left, and the Sunbirds got the offensive rebound, but Kevin Screen stole the ball with four seconds remaining.
The Mavericks were without backup guard Shawn King, who didn’t make the trip, and redshirt freshman Trevor VanTassel, who injured a knee this week in practice. Shantz said the MRI showed no ligament or meniscus damage, so they hope to have VanTassel back in a week or two. Burgon played 38 of the 45 minutes, with Ryan Stephan spelling him.
Stephan, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Green Mountain, scored two points and had three rebounds in his first college game.
Junior guard Paul Walter finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and six assists in his first game with CMU.
Mesa built a 37-26 halftime lead and a tip-in by Melillo and a 3-pointer from Daniel Estes early in the second half made it 42-26.
With the Mavs up 66-59 with 6:34 to play, the Sunbirds started to rally. Two minutes later the Mavs’ lead was 71-68, and Malcom Griffin hit a 3 for Fresno Pacific to tie the game at 71-71 with 3:47 remaining.
Melillo made two buckets in the final two minutes, and the Mavs had a chance to win in regulation.
Fresno made two free throws to tie the game with 29 seconds remaining, and Mesa worked the clock for the last shot. Melillo missed a jumper with two seconds left, but Walter grabbed the offensive rebound and was fouled but missed the free throws.
“Mike got a pretty good look, and the kid hit him on the arm, but they didn’t call it,” Shantz said. “Paul went hard to the boards and rebounded, and they fouled him. Paul felt bad at the end of the game because he missed those two, but we wouldn’t have been in position to win the game without him.”
Colorado Mesa made short work of CSU-Pueblo, beating the home team 25-18, 25-19, 25-19.
The Mavericks, who already had clinched a spot in the RMAC playoffs, improved to 16-10 overall and 10-8 in the conference.
Colorado Mesa jumped to an 11-4 lead in the first game, and after the ThunderWolves (14-15, 5-13) closed within 16-13 and 20-15, the Mavs pulled away, aided by three attack errors and a service error by CSU-Pueblo.
In the second game with the scored tied at 16-16, the Mavericks outscored the ThunderWolves 9-3. Christian Otzen served for the final four points, delivering two aces.
The third game also was 16-16 and ended with a 9-3 run by Colorado Mesa. Consecutive kills by Abby Ney, Melissa Hess and two by Rebecca Sellers made it 23-17. Setter Jordyn Moody, after assisting on four of the kills down the stretch, delivered the game-ending kill.
Kelly Regimbal led the Mavericks with 10 kills.
Swimming & Diving
Colorado Mesa diver Amanda Jennings broke two pool records as the Mavericks beat Western State Colorado 135-90 in women’s swimming and diving Friday at Western State.
Jennings set a pool record for six dives at 1 meter, totaling 215.38 points, and broke the record for 11 dives at 1 meter with 380.18 points.
CMU also picked up wins from Sydney Miller in the 1,000-yard freestyle, Kelly Hogan in the 200 free, Amy Brodie in the 50 free, Briana Purkapile in the 200 individual medley, Luisa Radiac in the 100 butterfly, Stephanie Mraule in the 100 free and Maddy Wigg in the 500 free.
Purkapile’s time of 2 minutes, 19.1 seconds in the 200 IM and Kelly Hogan’s 2:01.35 in the 200 free also broke pool records.