Quincy hands Mesa first loss

A 10-2 run late in the second half by No. 24 Quincy (Ill.) University was too much for No. 22 Mesa State to overcome Sunday night, as the Hawks handed Mesa its first loss of the season, 76-66, in the championship game of the Quincy Holiday Tournament.

One night after scoring 33 points, Michael Dominguez was held to nine points by Quincy (10-0), but Brian Kenshalo scored 20 points off the bench for Mesa (9-1), which plays at Illinois-Springfield tonight in its final game of 2009.

“We got off to a slow start but Brian came off the bench and had 17 points in the first half, hit five 3s and really kept us in it,” Mesa State associate head coach Andy Shantz said. “They’re a really good team, two really good teams. Late in the game the baskets weren’t falling for us and we turned it over a little bit.”

Quincy raced to a 30-14 lead midway through the first half but Lance Fite hit a couple of buckets, Dominguez a 3-pointer and Kenshalo back-to-back 3s to make it a six-point lead with 2:17 to play.

Two free throws by Aaron Markham, who finished with 10 points, and another 3 by Kenshalo pulled Mesa within four points, 40-36, with 37 seconds remaining. Quincy’s Justin Brock hit a layup with two seconds left in the half to give the Hawks a 42-36 lead.

Markham opened the second half with a jumper, a steal and a 3-pointer in the first minute to get the Mavericks right back in the game, trailing by one.

After a 3 by Quincy, Sean Flohr answered with a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game just more than four minutes into the half. Justin Ashbaugh’s layup gave the Mavs a two-point lead, and from there the teams hung with one another, with Fite tying the game at 57-57 with 9:47 to play.

After that, though, nothing went right for the Mavericks, who were down 11 with just more than three minutes to play. A handful of turnovers, missed jumpers, missed free throws,  fouls and a technical on Dominguez helped fuel the Hawks’ run.

“I don’t know if we were trying to force it or what,” Shantz said. “Instead of running offense we were trying to get quick shots and turned it over and they got quick shots.”

Mesa State committed 18 turnovers in the game and scored only nine points after pulling even with Quincy.

“They’re really similar to us in style, a motion offense, gap defense,” Shantz said. “They’re a little more athletic and they shoot the ball really well. It was kind of a mirror image. They’re bigger on the front line but our kids really battled. We just didn’t make enough shots to win.”


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