Second straight win particularly sweet for Gutting
This one's for you, Casey Gutting.
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions defeated the Northern Colorado Bears 68-64 Tuesday night at Butler-Hancock Hall in Greeley, Colo. While the Mountain Lions' second straight win after opening the season with eight consecutive losses, feels good - really good - for everybody involved with the team, it was particularly sweet for Gutting.
That's because Gutting spent his freshman and sophomore seasons languishing at the end of the Northern Colorado bench before transferring to CU-Colorado Springs.
"This is the greatest feeling I've had in a long time," said Gutting, who had a game-high six assists to go along with his seven points. "What I've been thinking about for three years is coming back here and beating these guys."
"I feel like I've won a championship."
That's a feeling that's starting to become contagious for the Mountain Lions (2-8). After struggling to learn new coach Marty Fletcher's sophisticated system early in the season, CU-Colorado Springs has shown remarkable improvement.
"We basically started out in a new system as a bunch of new freshmen," said senior forward Jack Bain, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds, both game highs. "When you start that way, you're going to have problems early on. As we demonstrated tonight against (an NCAA Division I) program, we just continue to get better.
"It's starting to become scary."
What was really scary was how the Mountain Lions played a full 40-minute game. Bain opened the scoring with a 3-pointer and CU-Colorado Springs never let that lead slip away.
But they couldn't pull away, either. The Mountain Lions never led by more than eight and the game was within five points for all but 3 minutes, 56 seconds. For the non-math majors, that's 36:04 of less than five point basketball.
"You can't give the other team an inch because that's all they need to get back into the game," said Gutting. "We've been there so many times as the team behind."
Vincent Jackson, who caught a school-record 21 touchdown passes for the Northern Colorado football team this past season, led the Bears on the basketball court as well with 18 points on 9-for-14 shooting. Matt Kline, Erik Olson and Michael Frazier each added 11 points, while Olson led Northern Colorado with 10 rebounds.
Against the more athletic Bears, it was critical not to get pushed around in the paint as has happened several times this season. Centers David Goodenberger and Jim Pecic, despite giving away plenty in terms of pounds, acquitted themselves nicely by combining for 15 points and 15 of CU-Colorado Springs' 34 rebounds. It was also important to defend the perimeter and the Mountain Lions did, holding Northern Colorado to 3-for-13 shooting from 3-point range.
And while is sounds cliche, there's no way of escaping that the win was without doubt a team effort.
"We've got guys coming off the bench and playing well, we've got guys in the game playing well," said Bain. "We're bonding as a total team. There's nothing but positives coming out right now. We can't do anything but get better now.
"This is getting crazy and that's what you've got to love."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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