Mountain Lions can't get a 'break'

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 3, 2004

There are certain things you can count on when you take a men's basketball team into Colorado College's Reid Gymnasium. One is that Tigers forward Michael Reich is going to hurt you. Another is that head coach Mike McCubbin is going to put a smart and disciplined team on the floor.

And you will absolutely, positively not be able to get a break.

Reich had 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as Colorado College defeated the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions 90-75 Friday night.

How much of a factor has Reich been? CU-Colorado Springs has faced Colorado College seven times in the senior's career and has won only twice. Prior to Reich's arrival, CU-Colorado Springs had won six consecutive meetings.

But Reich wasn't the entire story. McCubbin's team was dogged in its execution of the coach's offense, even when it bogged down for a possession or two. The Tigers shot 51.9 percent, including 47.1 percent (8-for-17) from 3-point range, by passing and cutting patiently until an open shot presented itself.

CU-Colorado Springs (0-5), on the other hand, often looked confused, frustrated and selfish.

"Our execution on the offensive end was very poor," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Lance Hammond. "We still don't have the level of commitment we need to succeed."

Colorado College (3-3) proved Hammond's point. Though smaller and less athletic than the Mountain Lions, the Tigers never wavered from the game plan.

William McConnell employed an awkward-looking but effective left-handed jump hoop to score 15 points for Colorado College. Kyle Keefe added 14 points, while Max Schuman made all three of his 3-pointers en route to 13 points.

"We talked about tagging Schuman before the game," said Hammond. "But we still let him get open. It reminded me of (Regis guard Jay) Goral."

Despite Colorado College's precision, a Dan Deveau steal at midcourt led to a Deveau dunk that gave the Mountain Lions a 59-56 lead with 11:09 left in the game.

Thatâ's when the " breaks " came into play.

Over the final 11 minutes, the Tigers grabbed five of their 10 offensive rebounds, usually by climbing upon the backs of Mountain Lions who had better position. Moving screens were ignored. Chris McGowne was called for an offensive foul when McConnell fell over his own feet. Torrey Phillips was called for traveling WHILE DRIBBLING the ball.

Assisted by breaks, Colorado College went on a 17-4 run over the next five minutes to take a commanding lead. The Mountain Lions ineptitude did the rest.

"The referees absolutely did not cost us this game," said Hammond, with emphasis.

"We didn't play together," added assistant coach Kevin Conboy. "Four guys will be doing what they're supposed to be doing and one guy does his own thing. That will never work."

CU-Colorado Springs' got sloppy on the defensive end, allowing the Tigers to make nine of their final 14 field goal attempts. During the same span, breaks awarded the Tigers 15 trips to the foul line, 14 of which they converted.

The Mountain Lions shot 2-for-7 over the same span (not counting Deveau, who crashed the glass and made all three of his attempts). They also committed four turnovers - three traveling calls and McGowne's mystery foul.

Jim Pecic led CU-Colorado Springs with 17 points and seven rebounds. Torrey Phillips scored a career-high 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Deveau went 6-for-7, scoring 13 points. Trey White added 11, all in the first half, while Keith Flores had 10 points and a team-high four assists.

CU-Colorado Springs shot a season-best 50 percent but still came up on the short end.

That's the breaks, I guess.


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Dan DeveauDan Deveau11FFr.
Dan DeveauDan Deveau22FSo.
Dan DeveauDan Deveau22FJr.
Dan DeveauDan Deveau22FSr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic32FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FSr.
Chris McGowneChris McGowne54CJr.
Chris McGowneChris McGowne54CJr.
Torrey PhillipsTorrey Phillips5GSo.
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