Metro State keeps UCCS winless

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 18, 2004

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs' season-opening magical misery tour made its first stop on the Mountain Lions' home court Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the opponent was No. 4-ranked Metro State.

Ben Ortner grabbed eight of Metro State's 31 offensive rebounds as the Roadrunners defeated the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs 97-62 at the Lions' Den.

So far this season, the Mountain Lions have played two NCAA Division I teams and Division II teams with an aggregate 37-5 record. That kind of schedule has led to an 0-8 record, 0-3 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Saturday, Metro State (8-0, 3-0 RMAC) had a 31-9 advantage on the offensive glass and a 22-12 edge in turnovers. Those 32 extra possessions proved decisive as the teams shot comparable percentages (Metro State 44.9 percent, CU-Colorado Springs 41.7 percent). The Roadrunners outscored the Mountain Lions 31-3 in second-chance points.

"That'll get you beat," deadpanned CU-Colorado Springs coach Lance Hammond. "We actually played a very good defensive game. (The Roadrunners) have me horses."

The Mountain Lions played without centers Devin Martin, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, and Chris McGowne, who was benched for disciplinary reasons. Even with those two, CU-Colorado Springs would be at a huge size disadvantage. Without them, the play in the paint often looked like the Lilliputians trying to tie down Gulliver.

"(Metro State is) definitely bigger than we are," said guard Patrick Simpson. "It doesn't get any easier. We're going to be outsized all year.

"We just have to get better at boxing out, pushing people back and being more physical."

Mark Worthington led Metro State with 18 points, while Michael Morse added 17. Keith Borgan and Michael Bahl each had 13 and Drew Williamson and Ortner added 12 each.

Torrey Phillips led CU-Colorado Springs with 13 points, while a pair of small-town players logged career highs â€" Paoniaâ€TMs Simpson with 12 and Parachute's Chris Johnson with 10.

Simpson, a sophomore, established new career in points, rebounds (three) and assists (two) while playing a season-high 17 minutes.

"I've always been taught that as a guard, you have to make things happen," said Simpson. "That's what I try to do when I get the chance. I've learned a lot from playing behind Torrey (Phillips). Today, he told me to be more aggressive and that fired me up."

Johnson's story is even more unlikely. He began the season as the team's manager before injuries forced Hammond to put a jersey on him. Saturday, he posted career highs in points and rebounds (two).

"I was very proud of their performance," said Hammond. "They're very competitive kids and that shows on the basketball floor.

"They're going to have to play more minutes with the injury situation. It might be tough to take the minutes back from them if they keep playing like that."


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Devin MartinDevin Martin42C/FFr.
Torrey PhillipsTorrey Phillips5GSo.
Chris JohnsonChris Johnson30FFr.
Chris JohnsonChris Johnson30FFr.
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