Now comes the showdown.
Not until the No. 7 Colorado Mesa men’s basketball team took care of Regis 73-63 on Friday night, did Mavericks turn their attention to tonight’s matchup with top-ranked and undefeated Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
“I think Georgie (Dancer) said it best this week in the press conference, so many of our games have gone overtime, we take everybody seriously,” CMU coach Mike DeGeorge said. “We’re not overconfident and don’t overlook anyone. That’s a sign of a mature group. Now we’re in great position to play a very meaningful game and we’re looking forward to the opportunity.”
Against the Rangers, the Mavs (15-1, 15-1 RMAC) led from the jump and with six minutes left in the first half had built a 21-point lead. They shot 54.5% from the field in the first half, 52.6% for the game, and allowed the Rangers (3-8, 3-8) to shoot only 39.7%.
“We were really ready to play and I thought we executed at both ends great for the first 12 or 13 minutes,” DeGeorge said. “We lost a little bit of our edge. They got going and as they gained confidence it got tougher and tougher for us. That’s part of the growth process. We had them on the outs a little bit and then we relaxed. We always respond, which is great, but it would be great to bear down when we have teams on the edge there.”
With four players reaching double figures, the Mavericks overcame some foul trouble to Dancer. Christopher Speller found matchups he liked and scored 14 points, Reece Johnson hit four 3-pointers and led the Mavs with 15 points. Mac Riniker and Ethan Menzies had 13 each.
Tonight’s game could decide the RMAC regular-season title and been tabbed by the NCAA Division II basketball social media account as the game of the week.
“That’s what you play for,” DeGeorge said, “is games like these.”
Another slow start did in the Mavericks, who staged another second-half rally in a 65-59 loss to Regis.
The Mavericks (12-6, 12-6 RMAC) shot only 17% from the field in the first quarter and fell behind 23-9, and it was simply too big a hole to dig out of.
Regis (6-8, 6-7) shot 50% in the first quarter, hitting four early 3-pointers as CMU was missing just about everything. The Rangers shot 42.6% for the game.
After the first quarter, CMU’s defense improved and the offense got untracked especially in the third quarter, when the Mavs outscored Regis 24-16. They cut the lead to four, 50-46, with just less than one minute to play in the third quarter.
With 3:47 remaining in the game, it was a one-point deficit, 55-54, after a jumper in the paint by Sophie Anderson.
Regis scored five straight points to go up six with two minutes remaining and the Mavericks could only get within three, 62-59, on a short jumper by Natalie Bartle with 22 seconds left.
Bartle led CMU with 20 points, but went only 9 of 25 from the field. Kylyn Rigsby had 19 points, making 9 of 19 from the field. Dani Turner played four minutes in the second half as she works her way back from a foot injury that’s sidelined her since mid-January.