by Bryce Reedy
The men’s basketball team opened up their regular season this weekend with the Heartland Conference Shootout down in Dallas, Texas. CMU competed in two games against Dallas Baptist University (DBU) and St. Edward’s University, and the Mavericks would fall in both games to start the season off 0-2.
Heading into the set of games, head coach Andy Shantz was looking for one thing in particular over the weekend.
“I hope that we get a little bit of continuity,” Shantz said. “We have been kind of banged up in the fall so we have had different people in and out of practice a little bit. So hopefully we can go down there and start getting into a rhythm in terms of our rotation and our guys starting to get comfortable with one another.”
The first game the team had to gain some continuity was against DBU. And in the first half it was apparent that the team had not played with one another. CMU went into halftime down 46-29. The team committed seven turnovers and shot a mere 35 percent from the field. The Patriots however shot 52 percent from the field.
“The first half we didn’t really play like us,” Hawley said. “So basically in the locker room [Shantz] told us to play like us and kind of calm down and not make so many mental mistakes.”
The Mavs second half was much better than the first, but it was not enough as the Mavericks fell 99-78. CJ Davis, James Sylvester and Eimer Lopez each scored 19 points for CMU.
“It was a rough start,” forward Nate Hawley said. “Obviously not the way that we wanted the [season] to start. But they were a really good team and they jumped on us right from the get go. We didn’t respond very well. But our second half compared to our first half was a lot better so I think it was a learning experience.”
CMU had a chance to go even on the road trip against St. Edwards. Unlike against the Patriots, the Mavericks came out of the gates with more energy than the night before. However, even with the increased energy, CMU was trailing once again heading into the locker room, down 35-31.
“It was kind of interesting, because we didn’t [come out with energy] last night and then tonight we came out tonight almost a little too hyper,” Shantz said. “We weren’t executing the offense as well as we could have.”
The Mavericks were unable to come back in the second half and fell 71-66 to fall to 0-2 to open up the season. Davis led the team with 23 points on the night.
“I thought we improved from [the night before],” Shantz said. “We got some contributions from off the bench. We just have some guys in some different roles so we are trying to figure that out.”
“I think we are going the right way for coming together as a team,” Davis said.
Despite going 0-2 on the road trip, the team learned a lot about themselves and what they have to improve on if they want to compete at a higher level.
“That is why we play these games early,” Shantz said. “We want to play some good people to see where we are at before conference play. We did that and so now we have some things to work on to get better.”
The Mavericks will now travel to Gunnison for two games this upcoming weekend.