Mountain Lions lose heartbreaker
Stephen Bahl made a 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining to lift the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers to a 56-55 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions Saturday night at the Lions' Den.
Trey White turned the ball over on CU-Colorado Springs' next possession, but redeemed himself by forcing Bahl into a bad shot that Jack Bain rebounded. With 4.3 seconds remaining, the pass went to Bain near midcourt, and he turned and found White in the left corner. White's game-tying 3-point attempts hit the front iron and the Mountain Lions fell to 0-6, 2-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
"The last play, we were trying to throw the ball to half court to Jack and he was going to try to tip it or pass it to me streaking up the sideline or the Trey streaking into the corner," said CU-Colorado Springs guard Casey Gutting, who finished with 15 points, all on 3-pointers. "We got Trey a pretty decent look."
Bahl's game-winner came when he took a pass about 25 feet from the hoop, dribbled twice as if surveying the floor for a pass recipient, then stepped forward and hit nothing but net from the top of the key.
"He made a good play. He's a heck of a scorer," said Gutting of Bahl. "We probably gave him about a half step too much room and he stepped back and hit that shot."
Former Rampart High School star Kevin Wagstaff led Mines (3-4, 1-1) with 16 points. Bahl, who entered the game averaging 23.2 points per game, was held to only 10 thanks to superior defensive efforts by White and Jimmie Pack.
"(Bahl) was bound to hit one sometime," said Gutting. "We did a good job holding him in check."
Saturday's game was probably CU-Colorado Springs' best overall defensive effort of the season. Mines came into the game averaging 79.5 points per game and shooting 44.8 percent. The Mountain Lions held the Cougars to 56 points on 39.3 percent shooting.
"Our defense is getting better and better each game and itâ's mostly mental stuff like knowing the scouting report and really focusing in," said Gutting. "Defense is all about heart and playing hard. We're starting to realize how hard we have to play on the defensive end to be in games. We played hard defense the whole game."
Bain had 20 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs, for CU-Colorado Springs, which struggled on the offensive end. The Mountain Lions committed 21 turnovers and shot just 40.8 percent.
"Offensively, we have to get more comfortable playing with each other and running our plays," said Gutting. "Our execution offensively isn't where it needs to be yet."
But progress is measured in steps, and Saturday's defensive effort was a clear step forward despite the result.
"We have to keep going forward on our defense," said Gutting. "Our defense has to be our backbone. That's going to trigger our transition and our offense."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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