Mavs need to come together to snap skid

Jeff Hart said the Colorado Mesa men’s basketball team suffered from a lack of enthusiasm in last weekend’s loss to Regis. The Mavs hope to regain that enthusiasm this weekend at home.


Colorado Mesa Mavericks (7-5, 5-3 RMAC)

Last Season: def. CSU-Pueblo 71-67; def. UCCS 65-57

Coach: Jim Heaps, 16th season (272-154)

Probable Starters

PG: Kevin Screen, 5-9, Soph., (3.3 ppg, 2.8 apg, 6 steals)

G: Jeff Hart, 6-4, Jr. (8.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 apg)

G: Mike Melillo, 6-5, RFr. (9.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 12 steals)

F: Michael Bear, 6-7, Sr. (16.6 ppg, 16 steals, 18 blocks)

C: Chandler Burgon, 6-8, Jr. (4.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 12 blocks)

Notes: CMU is limiting opponents to 27 percent shooting from the 3-point line, tops in the RMAC and in the top 10 in the nation. The Mavericks are 5-1 at home, including 4-0 against RMAC teams. The Mavs are 16-1 vs. UCCS in Grand Junction. CSU-Pueblo handed the Mavs their only home loss of the 2009-10 season in the first round of the RMAC tournament. Mesa reached the NCAA Sweet 16 that season.

CSU-Pueblo ThunderWolves (6-5, 3-4 RMAC)

Last Season: 11-15, 8-14 RMAC

Coach: Ralph Turner, 1st season

Probable Starters

PG: Bryse Velasquez, 5-10, Jr. (8.7 ppg, 6.0 apg, 1.5 spg)

G: Arden Dennis, 6-1, Jr. (13.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.6 apg)

G: Andre Martin, 6-4, Sr. (13.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.5 spg)

G: Ty Trahern, 6-3, Sr. (12.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 spg)

C: A.J. Kapanoske, 6-8, Sr. (6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.6 bpg)

Notes: The T-Wolves defeated Dixie St. (Utah) and Southern Virginia in the CMU Thanksgiving Tip-Off Classic. CSU-Pueblo was the only team to go 2-0. CSU-Pueblo plays solid defense, limiting its opponent to 67.3 points per game. The T-Wolves are only 1-3 on the road. “They do a great job of taking away your strength and making you play to your weakness,” Heaps said. “They’ve lost some close games, but they play well together.”

CU-Colo. Springs Mountain Lions (5-8, 4-3 RMAC)

Last Season: 9-17, 7-15 RMAC

Coach: Russ Caton, 7th season

Probable Starters

G: George Pollard, 5-8, Jr. (11.0 ppg, 28 assists, 25 steals)

G: Darius Pardner, 5-10, Fr. (10.1 ppg, 22 assists, 15 steals)

G: Alex Koehler, 6-2, Fr. (6.8 ppg, 22 assists, 12 steals)

G: Jake Darby, 6-0, Jr. (8.8 ppg, 30 assists, 13 steals)

C: Kyle Clark, 6-11, Jr. (3.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 7 blocked shots)

Notes: The Mountain Lions have won four consecutive games after losing eight of their first nine games. Thirty-eight percent of UCCS’ shots are 3-pointers. UCCS has made 120 3s and is shooting 40.4 percent from the 3-point line. The Mountain Lions hit 14 3-pointers to defeat CSU-Pueblo 85-84 last weekend in Pueblo. “They will shoot a ton of 3s,” Heaps said. “They shoot with confidence. We have to be disciplined.”

It’s still early in the season, but there’s no time to waste.

The Colorado Mesa University men’s basketball team is looking to shake off a two-game losing streak and make a run in the RMAC.

The quest begins against CSU-Pueblo (6-5, 3-4 RMAC) at 7:30 on Friday night at Brownson Arena. CMU plays the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (5-8, 4-3 RMAC) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

“It was almost like we had a hangover from the night before,” CMU junior guard Jeff Hart said of the Mavs’ losses to No. 1 Metro State and Regis last weekend. “You could tell there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm when it should’ve been the opposite. It was dead environment (Saturday at Regis).

“That’s where we as a team need to come together and make sure we bring a lot of enthusiasm as a team.”

CMU coach Jim Heaps wasn’t upset with the loss to Metro State, but was disappointed in the loss to Regis.

“Saturday we got away from what we do,” Heaps said. “We didn’t recognize the advantage we had. We looked at film and we wasted 18 or 19 possessions. We didn’t run our offense the way we’re supposed to run it.

“There are no excuses. It should not matter whether we’re playing the No. 1 team in the country or the last place team in the conference. I can understand us losing, but I can’t understand us not executing our stuff.”

Hart said the Mavericks each took it upon themselves to single-handedly beat Regis and it didn’t work.

“In game when you’re struggling, a lot of people will try to take it upon themselves and shoot it a lot,” Hart said. “When they’re not shooting well, it could actually hurt a team rather than help. What we need is someone to step up on the defensive end and play with intensity. We have the kids to score.

“We need someone to keep the team tight and bring a lot of leadership and make sure we stay on track. Sometimes when there’s not a lot of enthusiasm you have five individuals trying to get the team going. Saturday it resulted in a lot of individualistic play rather than team play.”

It’s not a question of talent, but simply working hard.

“We’ve got to come out and play hard,” Hart said. “This is a big weekend for us. We need to take care of business and come out with a couple big wins.

“We need to take care of these next couple weekends. You’ve got to expect adversity. You hope it comes later in the season than earlier because now we are in a position we can’t lose any more games.”

Heaps wants the Mavericks to get back to running the ball through the post offensively, especially when they have a height advantage, like they do against most opponents.

“What’s past is past,” Heaps said. “We have to show up Friday night and take care of our mistakes and play at a high level.

“We need to recognize our advantage and play to it. Our leaders need to make sure we’re ready. As a result, everybody will be more successful.”


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