Slow-starting Mavs fall to Mustangs
A slow start cost the ninth-ranked Mesa State College men’s basketball team Saturday night in an 80-72 loss at Western New Mexico University.
The Mavericks (20-2, 14-1 RMAC) trailed the entire game and were down 43-27 at halftime.
An 18-6 run to open the second half, however, got the Mavericks back into contention, 49-45, with 12:44 to play.
Western New Mexico built the lead to 10 points with 3:40 to play, but Michael Bear and Michael Dominguez led the Mavs back.
Bear, who finished with 14 points off the bench, hit a pair of free throws and a layup and Dominguez followed his own miss for a short jumper and with 52 seconds left, the Mavs were back within four, 76-72.
The Mustangs (9-13, 8-7), who are fighting for a spot in the RMAC Shootout, missed a 3-pointer and Sean Flohr grabbed the rebound.
Bear missed a 3 and TJ Riley got the rebound with 16 seconds left for Western New Mexico and was fouled. He hit both free throws, and after Dominguez missed a 3 with seven seconds left, Riley got the rebound and finished the game with a dunk.
Dominguez finished with 19 points and Brian Kenshalo, starting in place of injured guard Jase Herl, had 18. Flohr finished with 12.
Riley had 33 points for the Mustangs, with three other starters scoring 12 each.
The good news for the Mavericks, ranked first in the Central Region, is that Minnesota State-Mankato, the second-ranked team in the region, also lost, 92-84 to St. Cloud State, which is fifth in the region. Fort Lewis, which trails Mesa State in the RMAC West standings and is sixth in the region, lost 91-68 to CSU-Pueblo.
Despite a career-high 21 points from Central High School graduate Alaina Brennan and 20 points from Meagan Selvidge, the Mavericks couldn’t keep up with Western New Mexico on the road, losing 84-68.
Mesa State committed 24 turnovers, leading to 33 Western New Mexico points. The Mustangs also scored 21 points off 16 offensive rebounds.
Courtney McCaig added a dozen points for Mesa State (8-14, 5-10 RMAC), which plays next week at Adams State and Fort Lewis.
Brennan, who has played both on the perimeter and in the post this season for the Mavs, had seven rebounds, as did point guard Katie Cupp, who scored nine points.
The Mavericks got junior guard Jocelyn Zarling back after missing all but two minutes of the past three games because of a concussion, but were without guard Hannah Breidel, who averages nearly 11 points a game. Breidel had sinus surgery Wednesday.