Mountain Lions drop season opener

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 20, 2004

RENO, Nev. - David slew Goliath with a stone, the story says. The problem with collegiate basketball though, is that there are no stones in a modern arena - though there are often a few stoners in the Bob Uecker seats. That lack of missiles puts David at a distinct disadvantage.

The Division II University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was defeated 88-33 by the Nevada Wolf Pack Saturday in the season opener for both teams. That's the same Nevada Wolf Pack that advanced to the NCAA Division I Sweet 16 last season, and would have made the Elite 8 were it not for a buzzer-beater by Georgia Tech.

Goliath indeed.

The game was the opener of the Jim Thorpe Classic. CU-Colorado Springs will face the loser of the Southern Mississippi-Georgia State game - which will be played later tonight - in Sunday's consolation game. Nevada will face the winner in the title game.

Nick Fazekas scored 21 of his game-high 27 points in the first half as the Wolf Pack built a 42-12 lead by outshooting CU-Colorado Springs 55.6 percent to 20 percent. Nevada opened the second half in even more dominating fashion with a 24-2 run.

"(Kevinn) Pinkney and Fazekas both have a chance to be All-American and it showed," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Lance Hammond. "We couldn't keep them away from the basket and Fazekas just shot the lights out."

Fazekas, who graduated from Ralston Valley High School in Arvada, Colo., made 11 of his 14 field goal attempts including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

"(Fazekas is) a Colorado kid," said Hammond. "I think he saw the "Colorado" on the jerseys and got excited."

Then, unexpectedly, the Mountain Lions found something that had been missing. Devin Martin knocked muscled his way inside for a score. Stephon Hicks followed with a pair of jumpers, one from 3-point range. Defensively, CU-Colorado Springs started making the Wolf Pack work for their shots.

Nevada managed only a 22-19 advantage over the final 13:53.

Torrey Phillips led CU-Colorado Springs with eight points, while Martin added seven points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Nevada outrebounded CU-Colorado Springs 47-30, but held only a 17-15 advantage on the offensive glass.

"They had a 17-rebound advantage, but that was mostly because we shot so poorly," said Hammond. "I was pleased with our offensive rebounding. They only beat us by two and that's been a big problem for us. To only give up 17 second shots against a team like this says a lot about the effort the kids put in."

The Mountain Lions forced 20 turnovers, but tainted that stats by committing 31 of their own.

"We've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball," said Hammond. "We've got some problems to address and we'll do that."

When that happens, Goliath might be in trouble.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Stephon HicksStephon Hicks40G/FSr.
Devin MartinDevin Martin42C/FFr.
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