Lions take big step backwards

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 28, 2004

Most developmental projects progress in a maddening two-steps-forward, one-step-back pattern. Saturday night at the Auraria Events Center, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs took a step backwards in the form of a 73-45 loss to the Regis Rangers.

Make that a BIG step backwards.

"There were no positives tonight," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Lance Hammond. "We took a step backwards tonight, which is very disappointing."

The Mountain Lions were stagnant on offense, with players often making halfhearted attempts to run the offense. Other times, one or two would just stand around as if they had no idea what to do.

The lack of movement led to CU-Colorado Springs shooting just 37.8 percent from the field and committing 18 turnovers. Even more telling was that the Mountain Lions managing only six 3-pointer attempts.

"We looked like a very selfish team on the offensive end," said Hammond. "Everything we did was one-on-one. We didn't use the offense, we didn't execute and we didn't screen."

Saturday was supposed to be the first real test for the Mountain Lions. It was the first time in six games (two of which were exhibitions) that CU-Colorado Springs had faced an opponent that was not a Division I team or and two-time Division II national champion.

"Some of it I'll take (as his fault)," said Hammond.
It was a very hard starting schedule with lots of travel. I think some of it was that they're worn out."

That fatigue didn't show early in the game as the teams traded baskets. When CU-Colorado Springs guard Keith Flores made a layup with 10:11 remaining in the first half, it tied the game at 14.

Then the Mountain Lions got Goralized.

Regis guard Jay Goral scored the game's next nine points, then went on to put 17 on the board by the end of the half. Goral's sharpshooting led the Rangers to a 28-10 run over the final 10 minutes of the half.

"Before the game I told the kids that (Goral) was an incredible shooter and to not let him get open," said Hammond. "Somehow, we let him go 5-for-7 from 3(-point range)."

Goral led the Rangers with 20 points, while Austin Christensen had 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds. Logan Garvin added nine points, making all three of his 3-point attempts.

"I told them that (Garvin and Goral) could really shoot the ball and they went 8-for-10 from 3 between the two of them," said Hammond.

Torrey Phillips and Chris McGowne led CU-Colorado Springs with 10 points each, while Jim Pecic added nine points and five rebounds before leaving the game with a sprained ankle.

McGowne made five of his seven field goal attempts after having made all four of his attempts on Friday. To get any production from the 6-foot-10 junior has to be considered amazing, considering his surgically reconstructed foot is being held together by seven screws and still has him walking with a noticeable limp.

"If (McGowne) was healthy, he would be one of the best big men in the conference," said Hammond. "Even though he's only 70 percent (physically), he's still extremely effective. He still doesn't rebound the way he should because he can't elevate, but he's only going to get better, he's only going to get stronger. We just have to get him healthy."

But Saturday, there were painfully few positives for CU-Colorado Springs.

"We looked like a very poorly coached team playing against a very well coached basketball team," said Hammond. "It was a step backwards in almost every facet of the game."

If the development pattern holds true, though, the Mountain Lions are due a couple of steps forward.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jim PecicJim Pecic20FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic32FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FSr.
Chris McGowneChris McGowne54CJr.
Chris McGowneChris McGowne54CJr.
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