Lions' peeks lead to valley

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 29, 2003

Sometimes, looks really can kill.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions took a few peeks too many Monday night, falling to 0-7 with an 88-68 defeat to the Colorado Christian Cougars (9-1) at Lakewood.

At times, CU-Colorado Springs was able to make Colorado Christian pay for its aggressive, gambling press defense by moving the ball upcourt quickly. Too often, however, the Mountain Lions stopped and surveyed the court, allowing the Cougars to finish trapping the ballhandler and close down the passing lanes.

The first series of looks resulted in a 16-5 run that allowed the Cougars to take control of what had been a close first half. That was followed by a peep show leading to a 21-4 run opening the second period that put CU-Colorado Springs in a hole too deep to dig itself out of.

"Our guys really executed the game plan for the first 10 minutes and the last five minutes of the first half," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Marty Fletcher. "Then we got a little tired and started taking shortcuts like not going to the basketball."

But apart from those two stretches, the Mountain Lions played even up against a Colorado Christian team that had beaten them by 39 points less than three weeks ago. That newfound parity showed itself most in the early going, when CU-Colorado Springs used quick, decisive passing to break the press and get easy layups.

"We have a set play called "transition," that's what we're always looking to do (against the press)," said guard Jimmie Pack, who scored a career-high 16 points while shooting 7-for-7 from the field and 2-for-2 from the foul line. "A lot of teams put their big men back (as the last line of defense), and they aren't as quick as us little guys. It was really working there for awhile."

It was working clean up to the point that Jim Pecic made a pair of free throws to tie the game at 17 with 13:25 remaining in the first half. It was Pecic's first action since tearing his Anterior Cruciate Ligament late last season.

"I was nervous before the game but once I got in it was all gone," said Pecic, who finished with two points and two rebounds in five minutes of action. "I just wanted to come in and be solid and not try to do too much."

Colorado Christian closed the half strong, going into the locker room with a 42-34 lead. Before seven minutes had run off in the second half, the Cougars had extended the lead to 63-38.

"I was disappointed we didn't play better defense starting the second half," said Fletcher. "We weren't covering people and we weren't playing with great energy."

Rather than simply roll over, though, the Mountain Lions stormed back. Thanks to some opportunistic defense, CU-Colorado Springs worked itself back into the game with a 17-5 run that reduced the lead to 11. During that stretch, Jack Bain scored 10 of his team-high 19 points and had two steals.

"We started to move the ball a lot more on offense and Jack Bain hit some really, really big shots," said Pack. "We were making the extra passes, which is something we've been working on all year. It got us back into the game. Unfortunately, we were too far behind."

Center Brent Hobba led Colorado Christian with 22 points, while his backup, Ash Cannan, added 11 points and 10 rebounds. Point guard Matt Vaughn had 15 points and four assists.

Despite their 0-7 record, Monday's game was a good indication of the improvement the Mountain Lions have shown as they've become more and more acclimated to Fletcher's system. That improvement is a goal they plan to keep their eyes on.


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jimmie PackJimmie Pack4GJr.
Jimmie PackJimmie Pack21GSr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic32FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FSr.
Jack BainJack Bain45FSr.
Jack BainJack Bain45FJr.
Additional News Stories
May 12, 2004Hammond named men's basketball coachThe University of Colorado at Colorado Springs announced Wednesday that Lance Hammond was named interim men's basketball coach.
March 9, 2004Bain grabs conference, regional honorsHaving already secured a number of school records, senior forward Jack Bain added conference and regional honors to his resume this week.
February 27, 2004Seniors shine in lossSeniors Jack Bain, Casey Gutting and Jimmie Pack combined for 42 points in the final game of their collegiate careers, a 102-63 defeat at the hands of the Mesa State Mavericks.
February 24, 2004Another Bain record leads to second stright winJack Bain, who has set record after record during this, his senior season, saved his best for last. And a capacity senior night crowd of 304 watched in amazement as Bain grabbed one more record.
February 21, 2004Win feels might fine for men's basketballFew teams ever deserved a win more than the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team. When it came, few teams could have enjoyed it more.
Visit our Facebook pageVisit the UCCS Mount Lion's Twitter pageVisit the UCCS Mountain Lions Youtube pageVisit UCCS Rss feeds