Mesa-Metro games will be a hot ticket

It’s just a part of living in Grand Junction. Crowds arrive at the last minute no matter what the event, be it a ballgame, movie, concert or parade.

However, there are times when it pays to show up early. Junction-Fruita games. Memorial Day night or championship night at JUCO. Any event with fireworks. Parade of Lights. Harry Potter or Twilight release nights.

Friday night’s Colorado Mesa-Metro State basketball doubleheader at Brownson Arena.

There are a couple of sure-fire ways to make sure you get a seat — buy a ticket in advance (cmutickets.com) or make sure you’re there before the women’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m.

CMU officials are encouraging fans to wear black to the games.

If you show up at 7:25 thinking you’re going to get a great seat for the men’s game, you might be out of luck.

The CMU women (15-0) are No. 4 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history for the women’s program. Metro State (11-5) is two games behind the Mavs in the conference standings and was picked to win the RMAC title.

The Metro State (15-0) men are No. 1 in the nation, one of only three undefeated teams in men’s Division II basketball.

Colorado Mesa’s men (12-3) are in the “receiving votes” category, essentially No. 32 in the nation.

I know there are people out there who don’t care for women’s basketball, but this team can play the game. The Mavericks are the most athletic women’s team the school has had in the 27 years I’ve lived here.

They run the floor, play tough man-to-man defense and have the talent to play with some flair. In the three home games since the calendar turned to 2013, more and more people in Grand Junction have started to take notice. The gym is nearly full by halftime, and that’s without students on campus.

The men’s team, too, is fun to watch, with a more up-tempo style than some years. The Mavericks will never be a run-and-gun team, but this year they have the athletes that will push the pace, is one of the best passing teams the Mavs have had, and they play defense the way CMU coach Jim Heaps demands.

Combine that with the talent both Metro State teams bring to the table and you’ve got the makings for a fun evening.

The staff at CMU will make a few adjustments to get people into the arena as quickly as possible, moving walk-up ticket sales away from the doors entering the gym and into the hallway.

They’ll have more students behind the concession counter and helping people find open spots in the bleachers the rest of the season.

Jermaine Williams, the CMU events coordinator, said he isn’t sure exactly how many people Brownson will seat with the new expanded bleachers in the upstairs gym, but figures between 1,500-1,700.

“I think we can squeeze 2,000,” he said. The students will be standing the entire night, which means a few members of The Herd in that section across from the Mavs’ bench.

Williams is bringing temporary bleachers in from the El Pomar Natatorium, and with students back on campus, the full house should be rocking.

Heaps has seen plenty of big, rowdy crowds at Brownson and knows his players feed off that energy. Last weekend after a full house watched the Mavericks dispatch Western State, he anticipated what the Mavs will see Friday.

“We’ll have a great crowd,” he said. “You know it will be unbelievable and will be a great atmosphere.”

Metro State men’s coach Derrick Clark also knows what to expect not only from the crowd, but as the No. 1 team in the nation.

“I told them the No. 1 ranking isn’t going to help you win games when we jump it up at Mesa,” he told me Tuesday.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming there. They appreciate good basketball there.”

Bobby’s back: Fort Lewis men’s basketball coach Bob Hofman took an indefinite medical leave of absence two weeks ago. An issue with his hearing was the main problem.

Turns out, it only took few days to resolve the hearing issue and he was back on the floor last week.

National stats: Sharaya Selsor moved up to fifth in the nation in women’s 3-point field goal percentage this week. The CMU junior guard is shooting 46.9 percent from the 3-point line. Senior forward Kelsey Sigl is 11th in overall field goal percentage at 57.3

As a team, the CMU women are fifth in scoring defense (50.8 ppg), fifth in scoring margin (plus 22), seventh in rebound margin (plus 96) and eighth in field goal defense (32.9 percent).

Mesa is one of five undefeated women’s teams in the country.


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