For more than a half, the Highlands Cowboys remained in striking distance of an upset over the No. 2 team in NCAA Division II men’s basketball.
Then it got away from the Cowboys in a 92-71 loss Friday night at Metro State.
The host Roadrunners, playing on their home floor the Auraria Event Center, stayed unbeaten at 10-0 overall and 6-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. NMHU fell to 4-7, 2-5 going into Saturday’s game at Regis, also in Denver.
Highlands led most of the first six and a half minutes, but the Roadrunners took off on an 18-3 run to make it 27-16 Metro State.
Lavell McDade snapped the run by hitting from three-point range, and the Cowboys kept the gap within single digits until the 15:04 mark in the second half. That’s when Brandon Jefferson nailed a three to give Metro a 56-46 lead.
Highlands had four in double figures — Stargell Love (14 points, four assists, three steals), Mannie Cass (13), Lavell McDade (12 points, seven rebounds) and Lionel Coleman (10), and the team shot 48 percent in the first half before cooling to 40 percent down the stretch.
Mitch McCarron recorded a double-double for Metro with 16 points and 14 rebounds to go with four assists. Brandon Jefferson scored a game-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting; Jefferson connected on four three-point baskets.
Demetrius Miller added 14 points, and Jonathan Morse and Jamal McClerkin chipped in a dozen apiece.
A significant disparity was foul shooting chances, as the Roadrunners went 28 for 36 at the stripe, while the Cowboys were 12 of 19.
Metro State women 87, Cowgirls 58
Alyssa Lopez sank five three-pointers and finished with a game-high 21 points Friday at Metro State, but the Cowgirls didn’t generate near enough offense to keep pace in an 87-58 setback.
It was Highlands’ first game since ...
NMHU (3-8, 3-4) was to play at Regis on Saturday afternoon.
Lopez was the lone Cowgirl in double figures. Indre Mikelenaite and China Smith were the next highest scorers with seven points apiece.
Conversely, Metro had five reach doubles — Amy Nelson (16 points), Brandi Valencia (15 points, nine boards), Cassie Lambrecht (15), Kya DeGarmo (13, nine assists) and Emily Wood (13 points).
Foul trouble came into play for NMHU; Haley Grossman, Ashley Zaragoza and Smith all fouled out.