Colorado Mesa never let Metro State get on a scoring run Friday night, and the No. 9 Mavericks methodically pulled away for a 72-57 RMAC men’s basketball victory.
“We’re getting better, and some timely 3s helped,” CMU coach Mike DeGeorge said after the Mavs improved to 8-0 (8-0 RMAC). “I thought it was a step forward from (last) Saturday.”
Mesa’s defense allowed the Roadrunners (3-5, 3-4 RMAC) to shoot only 31.7% from the field and make only five of 25 from the 3-point line. Conversely, the Mavericks shot 50% in the second half and 46.2% overall, including making 10 of 26 from long range.
Ethan Menzies had a double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“The whole being in foul trouble (in previous games) bothered him,” DeGeorge said of Menzies, who had only two fouls in 31 minutes. “He was a little tentative in the first half, but in the second he was the guy we needed him to be.”
Menzies hit a layup on a basket cut, taking a perfect pass from Georgie Dancer, who finished with 17 points, to put the Mavericks up 57-42 with 8½ minutes to play, but the Roadrunners cut it to seven, 62-55, with three minutes remaining.
Dancer hit a pair of three throws and Jared Small buried a 3-pointer, followed by one from Christopher Speller, and the Mavericks regained their 15-point lead with 1:22 to play.
“We were really confident in key stretches,” DeGeorge said. “A lot of teams struggle when they get to six or seven, whatever it was there in the second half, but we stayed poised and confident. We executed the best when the most was on the line and played with a lot of confidence. That’s impressive for a young group and speaks to the leadership of the seniors, keeping the kids poised.”
Despite missing their top two scorers who combine to score 30.5 points a game, the Mavericks erased an 18-point second-half deficit before losing to the Roadrunners, 71-66.
With Dani Turner and Natalie Bartle sidelined by injuries, CMU (7-2, 7-2 RMAC) had a horrible start on both ends of the floor, trailed 37-28 at halftime and was down 48-30 3½ minutes into the second half.
“We battled, we played for 15 minutes, from the middle of the third to the end of the game we really played,” coach Taylor Wagner said. “We dug a little hole coming out of halftime but we made enough plays to win that game. It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did, but even missing two important players, we should have won that game. We’ll look back and kick ourselves for not stepping up.”
The Mavericks put the Roadrunners (5-3, 4-2) on the free throw line 36 times, giving up 27 points. CMU went 12 of 23.
Kylyn Rigsby’s 3-pointer with 5:53 to play in the third quarter sparked a 14-4 run that got CMU within five, 52-47, entering the fourth quarter. Rigsby buried a 3 from the top of the key with 30 seconds to play, giving the Mavericks a 66-65 lead.
Down 69-66, Kelsey Siemons’ 3-point attempt with five seconds to play came up short. Savannah Domgaard led the Mavericks with 21 points off the bench, Rigsby had 14 and Sophie Hadad, who started at point guard, had 11.