Second-half run lifts Skyhawks past Mountain Lions
Alan Batiste scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Fort Lewis Skyhawks defeated the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions 86-62 Friday night at the Lions' Den.
Jack Bain scored 16 or his team-high 18 points in the first half as CU-Colorado Springs (3-14, 2-8 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) was able to stay with the RMAC Western Division leaders. The Mountain Lions, the conference leaders in 3-point percentage defense (allowing just 29.9 percent shooting), held the Skyhawks, the RMACâ€TMs best 3-point shooting team (42.5 percent) to just 1-for-9 from behind the arc in the half.
Unfortunately for the Mountain Lions, the game had two halves. After a Casey Gutting layup cut the lead to four to open the half, Fort Lewis (13-4, 8-3) reeled off 12 straight points over a 2:16 span, making all three of its 3-point attempts and shooting 4-for-4 overall. The Skyhawks made 10 of their first 11 shots in the second half, including 5-of-6 3-pointers.
"I don't know if it was anything they were doing. I think it was mainly us," said CU-Colorado Springs reserve point guard Josef Cruz, who had 11 points and a team-high four assists. "We lost focus for like a two or three minute stretch when we weren't tagging people we were supposed to be tagging and they got wide-open shots.
"Once we got them in a rhythm, they were going to the basket and hitting their open shots."
And while the Skyhawks couldn't miss, the Mountain Lions couldn't get the ball to the triple-teamed Bain. Unable to utilize its top scorer, CU-Colorado Springs found some other options.
Cruz made three of his four 3-point attempts, including consecutive treys when the Mountain Lions were desperately trying to mount a charge with six minutes left. Cruz's barrage was certainly unexpected, especially considering that he attempted only 15 3-pointers in his first 16 games this season.
"I took it into my own hands," said Cruz, who admitted no instructions to shoot came from the bench. "I just felt that I could get them up and make them."
Another option was 6-foot-7 center David Goodenberger, who stepped out to the perimeter to knock down 2-of-4 3-pointers.
"They've been doubling Jack (Bain) lately because he's been putting up so many points," said Goodenberger. "They usually double with another post man and that leaves me with an opportunity. It not something we really plan on, it just kind of happens."
Nick Brooks scored 14 points from the post for Fort Lewis, while Ryan Sonnek added 12. Point guards Tim Edstrom and Derek Yutzy had five and six assists respectively.
Bain, the RMAC rebounding leader, grabbed a game-high 10 boards. Bain needs to average only 8.4 rebounds over the final 10 games to pass Mike Jackson for the CU-Colorado Springs career record. Bain need to average just 7.3 boards per game to pass Jackson for the single-season mark.
But right now, the only record the Mountain Lions can see is wins and losses. Their playoff hopes, while mathematically still alive, have dwindled badly.
"We definitely need to start by winning (Saturday) night," said Goodenberger of CU-Colorado Springs' 8 p.m. matchup against Adams State. "It's a cliche, but one game at a time, that's the way we have to look at it."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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|February 27, 2004||Seniors shine in loss||Seniors 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.|
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