Roadrunners men’s basketball
The MSU Denver men’s basketball team had its homestand over the weekend, going 1-1 losing to Northwest Nazarene University on Friday night before getting their first win of the season Saturday against the University of North Georgia. The victory at the Auraria Event Center was also head coach Michael Bahl’s first since being hired in May.
Friday night’s tilt against the Northwest Nazarene University Crusaders saw the Roadrunners jump out to an early 11-2 lead fueled by buckets from junior guard Enrique Cortes-Zotes, who had nine of his 12 points before the five-minute mark. That lead would reach 13 but the good times were short lived as baskets from Jayden Bezzant and Khalil Thompson of the Crusaders cut the lead to only two with a minute left in the half. A layup from Bounama Keita as the first half was expiring would give the Roadrunners a four-point 39-35 lead at halftime.
After opening the second half with a three-point play from guard Peter Moller that gave the Roadrunners a seven-point lead, Northwest Nazarene went on a 14-point run that ate up more than seven and a half minutes of clock. During that run, the Roadrunners went over ten possessions in a row without scoring, giving Northwest Nazarene a 49-42 lead that they would not surrender, eventually winning the game by a score of 81-74.
“We played with a lot of energy in the first half for some reason and then we just let it down in the second half,” Moller said after the game. “Our coaches are great at getting us started for the game and then it’s our job as players not to do that.”
Any disappointment that was lingering with the team from Friday night’s loss was washed away Saturday night, however. The Roadrunners turned a one-point halftime lead into their first win of the season, giving the crowd at the Auraria Event Center plenty to cheer about. The Roadrunner bench was especially rowdy as senior Cameron Williams put up 29 points with Peter Moller adding another 18 to power the home team to a 82-72 victory over the visiting North Georgia Nighthawks. Jaryn Taylor added 15 to that total in a game that had coach Bahl beaming from ear to ear after the game.
“You try to tell the guys to stay the course and trust the process. There is nothing better than a victory to validate what you are preaching,” Bahl said.
Williams had high praise for the new coach after seeing how the team developed enough to earn their first win.
“I felt like coach being positive, getting us working as a team,” Williams said of the coach’s attitude. “Just don’t worry about the last loss.”
The Roadrunners will kick off Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play when they travel to the Mount Rushmore state to take on South Dakota School of Mines and Technology on Dec. 1 before battling Black Hills State University on Dec 2.