GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Last season was a down year for the Colorado Mesa men's basketball team, but with every down year comes the opportunity of a blank slate the next season.
The Mavericks, though, have already marked up that slate with a couple tallies in the loss column over the weekend.
CMU has nine new names on the roster this season after graduating four seniors from last year. Those seniors, including All-RMAC second team Eimer Lopez, accounted for 50 percent of Mesa's scoring. While the team is still trying to gel, the Mavs are looking for guys to step up.
"[Junior guard] Connor Nichols has done a great job filling that role," said Head Coach Andy Shantz. "He's done a great job for us. We have new kids that are talented and anytime you have new guys in a motion offense sometimes it takes a little while to get use to. They're playing hard."
"This weekend, it seemed like I was in a position to score the basketball," said Nichols. "Next weekend, depending on what they run, a zone or something, it might be more of a shooters kind of game and I might be in the paint and have more rebounds. Every game is going to be a different score and a different person has to step up every game which is fun for everybody. It's a little bit of a puzzle who's going to do it every game. We have confidence in everybody to be able to do it."
Nichols led the Mavs with 27 points and nine rebounds in an overtime loss to Saint Edward's. He led the team in rebounding, again, in a loss to Dallas Baptist with six boards.
This week, the Mavericks head to a tournament at Western State. They'll take on the Midwestern State Mustangs on November 17. Tip-off is at 5:30 p.m. from Gunnison.