UCCS tops CC in exhibition
Sure, it was only an exhibition game, but Mountain Lions basketball fans may want to allow themselves to start getting just a little excited
Newcomers Patrick Hannaway, Bly McGuire and Brian Snyder combined for 58 points and 28 rebounds as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs defeated the Colorado College Tigers 86-53 Saturday night at the Lions' Den.
Considering that Colorado College beat UCCS twice last season, it would appear that the 2005-06 version of the Mountain Lions will be vastly improved. That improvement starts with some very important new faces.
Hannaway, a Doherty High School graduate who transferred to UCCS from Division I Stephen F. Austin, led the Mountain Lions with 23 points and 13 rebounds. He made his first six shots from the field.
"A lot of those (shots) come from crashing the boards hard, getting rebounds and putting them right back up," said Hannaway, who finished with eight offensive rebounds. "It's a lot of practice, too."
As gaudy as Hannaway's numbers were, they very easily could have been higher.
"Pat got himself into some foul trouble and didn't actually get the minutes I think he can log," said UCCS coach Lance Hammond. "Pat's probably the best-conditioned athlete we have in the program and only played 28 minutes."
McGuire, a transfer from Western State, added 19 points and four rebounds. Snyder, a freshman from Simla, had 16 points and 11 boards.
"Our offense is moving (the ball) pretty well," said Hannaway. "I like that we have two big men in Bly and Brian down low. It really helps the perimeter players."
Two other new faces, point guards P.J. Forrest and Leo Thomas, efficiently ran that offense with six and three assists respectively. As a team, UCCS logged 21 assists.
Colorado College made its first seven 3-pointers, allowing the Tigers to stay with the bigger Mountain Lions through the first 10 minutes of the game. Five of those 3-pointers came from Nick Rogerson, who led Colorado College with 17 points.
"(Colorado College) coach (Mike) McCubbin is a class act. He has a great basketball program and we knew they'd be ready to play," said Hammond. "As much as I told my kids they were going to shoot the lights out, it took (the Mountain Lions) a couple of slaps in the face to wake them up.
"Rogerson can flat shoot the basketball. If you leave him open, he's going to make you pay."
With the score tied at 25, Hannaway had two offensive rebounds and five points to lead UCCS on a 12-0 run. The Mountain Lions closed the half with an 18-5 run that blew the game open and sent UCCS to the locker room with a 57-33 advantage.
Colorado College slowed the pace in the second half and tightened its defense, holding UCCS to 12-for-31 shooting. The Tigers were also patient offensively, and they were rewarded for the added ball movement by getting to the foul line 15 times, 11 of which they converted.
"They slowed the tempo down and limited possessions," said Hammond. "We also didn't create as many turnovers. We didn't get as much offense from our defense in the second half."
While the Tigers were able to limit the Mountain Lions opportunities, they couldn't eliminate them. UCCS led by as many as 37 before a mini-run by CC closed the final gap to 33.
UCCS will play its final exhibition game of the season next Saturday at the University of Denver. The Mountain Lions will open the regular season on Nov. 15 at Grand Canyon.
"We really have to be strong mentally (against Denver)," said Hannaway. "I really feel that we can go out this year and compete with any team."
And that prospect is certainly worth getting excited about.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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