Without Pecic, Lions drop No. 22

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 10, 2005

No member of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team will ever forget the 2004-05 season.

Their patience has endured more tests than a freshman in a calculus class. Their constitution has been faced with more tests than Johnny Cochran. They've collected more moral victories than Aesop.

Still, they have not been rewarded with a real win.

None. Zero. Zip.

On Thursday night in Pueblo, the Mountain Lions were forced to play without leading scorer and rebounder Jim Pecic, who had to sit out a game because he picked up two technical fouls in Tuesday's loss. That left CU-Colorado Springs with only seven players and yet another test of their patience and constitution.

The result was predictable. The Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves easily bested CU-Colorado Springs 89-59, dropping the Mountain Lions to 0-22, 0-15 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

That they played hard for 40 minutes in the face of ever mounting barriers was, yes, another moral victory.

"We've been through so much this year, it doesn't matter what we face anymore," said senior Trey White, who answered the call to arms with a career-high 20 points, plus seven rebounds and four assists.

Without Pecic, the Mountain Lions had no interior scoring threat which allowed CSU-Pueblo to overplay the perimeter. Without his play on the4 boards, CU-Colorado Springs was outrebounded 45-27.

"You can't replace a player like Jim," said White. "But at a certain point you have to strap it up and play. You play hard. That's it."

And that's exactly what White and the remaining Mountain Lions did. CU-Colorado Springs opened an 8-4 lead over the first six minutes. But the Thunderwolves wore the undermanned Mountain Lions down, going on a 23-1 run over the next 11 minutes.

"Nobody plays to lose," said White. "We're all college athletes. It's all about dedication."

Jeff McCall came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points for CSU-Pueblo (11-11, 6-8 RMAC).

Dan Deveau added 15 points and five blocked shots for CU-Colorado Springs. Zach Wheat added nine points and five rebounds.

As the final seconds were disappearing off the game clock, Patrick Simpson and White each made 3-pointers as if to proclaim, "we're still here, we're still fighting." It was as if it were a final act of defiance - a way to show their contempt of any notion of accepting any sense of hopelessness.

"You can't determine the heart of your teammates by wins and losses," said White. "I love my teammates. I'll play with them any day."

In the face of adversity, love is a damn fine thing to have.

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.
Trey WhiteTrey White4G-FJr.
Zach WheatZach WheatF/G
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