The Madison Mavericks came up just short of a victory against the Next Level Grind (NLG) Titans in the season opener of the Official Basketball Association.
Julian Walters’ 20 points were not enough as the NLG Titans snuck away with a 94-92 win at JustAgame Fieldhouse Saturday night.
“There is a lot of good things to take away from this game, but obviously we’ve got more things to work on,” Assistant Coach DeVon Preyer said after the game.
Mavericks Head Coach Curtrel Robinson was unable to attend the game, leaving Preyer at the helm.
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The Mavericks saw six players score in double figures and 11 of the 13 players on the active roster score in the game. All 13 players saw meaningful minutes in the contest.
“We want to find the right group of guys that is going to lead the team,” Preyer said.
Maverick forwards Damon Smith and Dave Turner both put up 12 points. Chris Costello and Levon Crawford each poured in 11 points. Former Badger Roy Boone added 10 points to the total.
Poor shooting put the Mavericks behind in the first half. The Mavericks were facing a four-point deficit entering the second half and watched their deficit grow to as many as 10 points during the third quarter.
That was when Walters took control of the game and brought his team back. Walters scored 18 points in the second half and put the Mavericks ahead by six points in the fourth quarter.
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The surge was not enough to put the NLG Titans away. The Titans found themselves with possession of the ball in a game tied at 92 with just under one minute remaining in regulation.
A defensive breakdown allowed for a cutter to collect an entry pass and score an easy bucket to give the Titans a 94-92 lead.
“Defensively, we fell asleep at the wheel,” Preyer said about the play.
The Mavericks still had one more chance to tie or take the lead. The Mavericks went fast and opted not to call a timeout in the closing seconds. Corvonn Gaines took a 3-pointer from the wing as time was running out but the shot did not fall, and the Titans secured the win over the Mavericks.
“We are good,” Preyer said about the loss. “It’s [our] first game, we got the jitters out. We got to see who we are and what we need to work on.”
The Mavericks will re-focus their attention for a pair of games this weekend. Saturday, the Mavericks will travel to Rochester, Minnesota to take on Rochester United. The Mavericks return to Wisconsin Sunday to match up with the St. Paul Panthers.