SPEARFISH — Black Hills State University suffered its first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) defeat of the men’s basketball season, falling 81-71 to Colorado Mesa at the Donald E. Young Center, Sunday afternoon.
“We finished the first half really well and brought all the momentum in the world into the locker room,” said Yellow Jackets’ head coach Ryan Thompson, whose team fell to 7-1 in the RMAC, 9-4 overall. “They (Colorado Mesa) flipped the switch in the second half, so credit to them.”
The visiting Mavericks built a 12-6 lead in the first half on a Blaise Threatt basket.
Tommy Donovan, Caelin Hearne, and Ryder Kirsch sparked a 7-0 run for Black Hills State. Kirsch’s basket put the Yellow Jackets ahead 13-12.
Colorado Mesa claimed a 23-17 lead when Georgie Dancer connected on a 3-point field goal. Adam Moussa’s five points and Joel Scott’s two free throws pushed the Yellow Jackets ahead 24-23.
Black Hills State used an 11-0 run to storm ahead 35-27. Kirsch, Scott and Moussa entered the scoring column during that stretch.
A Sava Dukic 3-point field goal kept the Yellow Jackets ahead 38-30. Scott’s slam dunk to end the first half gave Black Hills State a 40-33 advantage.
“I felt like we were a little flat to start the game and to start the second half,” Thompson said. “That starts with me; there are no excuses for that.”
Colorado Mesa scored 11 straight points to open the second half. Trevor Baskin’s free throw put the Mavericks up 44-40.
Scott (short-range shot) and Dukic (3-point field goal) brought Black Hills State to within 51-48.
The Yellow Jackets cut the margin to two points on four occasions during the next three minutes. Donovan connected from inside with just over six minutes left as Black Hills State trailed by only 60-58.
Threatt completed a three-point play to begin a 12-0 run for Colorado Mesa. Jared Small’s jump shot ended the run and put the Mavericks ahead 72-58.
Black Hills State got no closer than nine points after that.
Scott collected 26 points to pace the Yellow Jackets, who also received 16 points from Moussa. Baskin’s efforts for Colorado Mesa featured a game-high 33 points, with Threatt adding 22 points.
Thompson said Colorado Mesa played a bit harder than Black Hills State and sustained its effort for the entire 40 minutes. He added it seemed like the Yellow Jackets turned it on and off at times, especially on defense.
Colorado Mesa’s game plan included having a larger player guard Moussa, along with switching ball screens with Scott and Moussa, according to Thompson.
“We found some answers with Joel (Scott) inside, but we really didn’t capitalize on that enough,” Thompson said.
Colorado Mesa has won six straight conference games. The Mavericks are now 7-2 in the RMAC, 13-5 overall.
Black Hills State scoring: Joel Scott 26, Adam Moussa 16, Tommy Donovan 9, Sava Dukic 8, Ryder Kirsch 7, Caelin Hearne 3, Sindou Cisse 2. Totals 29 field goals, 7 of 13 from the free throw line, 71 points.
Colorado Mesa scoring: Trevor Baskin 33, Blaise Threatt 22, Jared Small 9, Reece Johnson 6, Mac Riniker 6, Georgie Dancer 5. Totals 30 field goals, 15 of 22 from the free throw line, 81 points.
Field goal percentages: Black Hills State 45 (29-64), Colorado Mesa 51 (30-59)
Three-point field goals: Black Hills State 6 (Moussa 2, Dukic 2, Hearne 1, Kirsch 1), Colorado Mesa 6 (Threatt 2, Baskin 2, Dancer 1, Small 1)
Rebounds: Black Hills State 36 (Scott 13), Colorado Mesa 38 (Riniker 10)
Turnovers: Black Hills State 10, Colorado Mesa 8
Total fouls: Black Hills State 20, Colorado Mesa 13
Black Hills State is scheduled to travel to Gunnison, Colo., for a Friday, Jan. 14 game at Western Colorado. These teams met in the RMAC opener Dec. 3 in Spearfish, with the Yellow Jackets prevailing 85-80.
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