Western State Colorado University (WSCU) played with a tough interior defense in the fourth quarter, limiting Colorado Mesa University (CMU) chances to stage a late comeback. The Mountaineers outscored the Mavericks 21-16 in the fourth quarter, propelling WSCU to a 62-58 win.
The loss is a crushing one for CMU, who with a win could have found themselves in a second-place tie with Black Hills State and Fort Lewis in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) standings. Instead, the Mavericks now sit in seventh place.
The Mavericks struggled offensively throughout the game. CMU shot 2-of-8 from three-point range in the first half, followed by 3-of-12 in the second half. The Mavericks shot 39.4 percent for the game, including 34.4 percent (10-of-29) in the second half.
CMU did not attempt a single free throw in the first half.
Jaylyn Duran had a game-high 19 points for CMU on 7-of-16 shooting. Erin Reichle finished with 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Duran and Reichle, top two in the RMAC in three-point field goals made, finished the game a combined 5-of-16 from deep.
Karina Brandon had a solid all-around effort, scoring 10 points with six rebounds and two steals.
The Mountaineers shot 48.9 percent on the night and were led by Tammarrah Gothard who scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
WSCU finished with 17 turnovers compared to CMU’s nine, marking the second time all season CMU lost when they committed fewer turnovers.
CMU moves to 16-6 with a 10-6 RMAC record. WSCU now sits at 7-15 and a 4-12 RMAC record.
The Mavericks will head to Salt Lake City to take on Westminster College on Saturday, a team who CMU defeated 83-52 on Nov. 30.