ThunderWolves run into hot-shooting Mavericks in road loss

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Colorado Mesa University shot nearly 60 percent and defeated the Colorado State University-Pueblo men's basketball team 86-74 in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference contest in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The ThunderWolves (7-8, 5-4 RMAC) shot 43.5 percent in the game, while the Mavericks (10-5, 6-3 RMAC) hit 59.3 percent and at one point during the second half were shooting at a 66 percent clip. CSU-Pueblo knocked down 10 3-pointers, while CMU had five. Colorado Mesa won the rebounding category 41-21, which included 11 offensive boards that guided 18-second chance points. The Pack totaled 15 points off 13 turnovers by the home team, while only turning the ball over seven times.

Five players scored in double figures with 15 each by freshman Jaedon Bowles (F, Aurora, Colo.) and sophomore Tyson Gilbert (G, Highlands Ranch, Colo.). Bowles had three, 3-pointers and added four rebounds, while Gilbert contributed his scoring off the bench.

David Simental (R-So., G, Pueblo West, Colo.) and Brandon McGhee (Sr., G, Oakland, Calif.) each added 12 points. McGhee had four assists, while Simental pulled down three rebounds and dished out three assists.

Bryce Sanchious (Jr., F, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) added 10 points and a team-best six rebounds. .

The first half was a back-and-forth affair with eight occasions when the game was tied and six lead changes.

Neither team had a lead larger than five during the first half and that was the CMU advantage at 34-29 with 5:17 remaining in the first frame. The Pack responded and posted a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 36-34 with 2:24 showing on the game clock.

The Mavericks hit back with a 7-0 run of their own to retake the lead by a handful with a minute to play. A Simental 3-pointer with 35 seconds left would end the scoring in the first half, as the ThunderWolves trailed at the break, 41-39.

CSU-Pueblo scored the first four points of the second half and were leading by three at 50-47 with 16:21 remaining in the game. CMU then turned up the heat on a night the team was already shooting well, as the home squad rattled off a 17-2 run during five minutes of game time to open a 12-point lead at 64-52.

The Pack momentarily stopped the bleeding with a bucket to cut the deficit to 10, but the Mavericks kept their foot on the gas and built a lead as large as 18 before settling with the 12-point victory, 86-74.

The ThunderWolves begin a four-game homestand Jan. 17-18 with Metro State University of Denver (8-7, 4-5 RMAC) Friday and Chadron State College (3-12, 2-7 RMAC) Saturday. Both games are slated for a 7:30 p.m. start.