UCCS men end season with loss to Mesa State

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 27, 2005

OK, so the win streak is over.

And so is the season. The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team played its final game of the 2004-05 season Saturday night at the Lions' Den, an 87-66 loss to the Mesa State Mavericks.

With the loss, the Mountain Lions finished their longest season with a 1-26 record, 1-18 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Only a win over Western State on Friday saved UCCS from the ignominy of a winless year.

"It was obviously a rough year," said senior Jim Pecic, who had 22 points and nine rebounds in his collegiate finale. "I still would have gotten into it knowing what would happen because it's all about the fun and the camaraderie."

Saturday's game followed a formula that became familiar. The much bigger Mavericks pounded the ball inside on the Mountain Lions. Mesa State post men Jarred Perry and Andy Classick led the Mavericks with 17 and 13 points respectively.

"They obviously exploited us inside," said Pecic, who began the season as a small forward but ended it as UCCS' center because of injuries and suspensions. "We tried to use our quickness to play defense, but sometimes that only goes so far. They saw what our weakness was and exploited it."

Mesa State scored the game's first 11 points before Stephon Hicks, another senior, got UCCS on the board with a 17-foot jumper. A Zach Wheat layup with 9:30 left in the first half cut the deficit to five, but Mesa State (18-7, 13-6 RMAC) answered with a 5-0 run.

The Mountain Lions' third senior, Trey White, made a shot minutes later to get the Mountain Lions within five for the final time. Mesa State outscored UCCS 15-5 the rest of the way to take a 37-22 halftime lead. The Mountain Lions never got the lead back into single digits.

Torrey Phillips scored 12 points for UCCS. Hicks added seven and White four in their final game. Pecic said it was difficult to comprehend the finality of his career ending while still immersed in the focus of competition.

"It hasn't really sunk in yet," said Pecic. "It'll probably hurt a lot more tomorrow and in the days to come."

But he also had a clear grasp of the bigger picture.

"Basketball is not only the game but also the relationships you form," said Pecic. "Those will never go away."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jim PecicJim Pecic32FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FJr.
Jim PecicJim Pecic20FSr.
Trey WhiteTrey White4G-FJr.
Stephon HicksStephon Hicks40G/FSr.
Zach WheatZach WheatF/G
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