Mavs stun Colorado Christian to remain undefeated
No way did the Mesa State College men’s basketball coaches ever think they’d walk out of the Colorado Christian gym Friday night with a 30-point win.
“We were nervous as heck,” associate head coach Andy Shantz said after the Mavericks came way with a 75-45 victory. “First conference road game ... That’s a good team that’s going to win games in the RMAC. It’s a really good win for us.”
The Mavericks (5-0, 1-0 RMAC) put on a defensive clinic, allowing the Cougars to shoot only 30 percent from the field in their own gym, and held Justin Neuhaus, a talented 6-foot-11 center, to 12 points. Jobi Wall had 16, but 14 of those came in the first half.
The Mesa State bench provided a boost from the perimeter, with Brian Kenshalo and Sean Flohr hitting back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the first half.
Mesa led 40-22 at halftime and ended up shooting 50 percent from the field for the game.
Lance Fite led Mesa, which plays at Colorado School of Mines tonight, with 15 points and Mike Dominguez and Jase Herl had 12 each.
A steal and layup by Dominguez with 12:42 to paly in the game, pushed Mesa’s lead to 25 points, 53-28, and it eventually grew to 30 points in the final two minutes.
Mesa State had only 10 turnovers and forced twice that many by the Cougars (0-4, 0-1).
“I can’t remember the last time we had this even a performance,” Shantz said. “Everybody played well, all of them, starters, bench guys, we were balanced inside and out.”
The Mavericks didn’t back down from a team picked to finish toward the top of the RMAC East Division, but just didn’t have enough weapons in a 46-40 loss at Colorado Christian.
“We played our butts off, I’m really proud of them,” Mesa State coach Roger Walters said. “We just ran out of gas. We’re going to have to end up playing Jordan (Brand) tomorrow night; we just have to. She’s excited and that’s all that matters.”
Walters was hoping to redshirt Brand, a 5-foot-11 forward, but injuries have decimated the Mavericks (1-3, 0-1 RMAC), who lost freshman Lindsey Shaw for the season this week after only one game with an injury to her right leg.
“She has compartment snydrome in her shin and the MRI showed a hot spot. They booted her and she’s done for the year,” Walters said. “Hannah (Breidel, knee sprain) is close to coming back, but we really need one more guard in our rotation to help us.”
Heather Habekost, the Mavs’ only senior, started some light running this week and was hoping to rejoin the team soon, but reaggravated the Achilles’ injury in her left foot and might not be able to play until February.
The Mavericks led 27-21 at halftime, but lost that lead five minutes into the second half and couldn’t get it back.
Courtney McCaig led the Mavericks with 11 points. Jennifer Landers had eight points and eight rebounds, playing the entire game.
“The defensive effort was there,” Walters said. “We got a little stagnant offensively and defensively we just struggled in the second half. They’re big, and our kids did such a good job in the first half. It was unbelievably physical, but our kids hung in there. They’re a hard-nosed bunch.”