Good performance not enough against Division I CSU

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 28, 2005

Well, that's enough of that - at least for now.

Bly McGuire scored 18 points and Patrick Hannaway added 15 points and five rebounds but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was defeated 106-80 Wednesday by the Colorado State Rams at Moby Arena.

It was the Mountain Lions' third game against an NCAA Division I opponent this season. Those three teams (Colorado State, Air Force and Wyoming) have combined for a 26-8 record so far this year. UCCS has also played four games against Division II powerhouses Grand Canyon (twice), Fort Hays State and Metro State. Those teams are a combined 26-7 this year. That's seven games against monsters.

UCCS (1-8) has also played Regis (4-5) and Chadron State (5-6), both of which are good, solid programs but donâ€TMt have a red cape and a big "S" on their chests. Against mortals, the Mountain Lions are 1-1.

That's why it's good that UCCS will play its next three games against Colorado Christian (twice) and Colorado Mines. Both good teams, to be sure, but don't expect to see Lois Lane in the audience.

For nine minutes on Wednesday night, though, it was hard to tell that there was any gap in talent. UCCS jumped to a 10-4 lead on 3-pointers by Bryan Snyder and P.J. Forrest and regular field goals by Hannaway and McGuire. With just over 13 minutes remaining, Hannaway completed a conventional 3-point play to give UCCS a 22-18 lead.

With the Mountain Lions consistently breaking the Rams' full-court trap defense, the game was tied at 24 with 11:36 left in the half.

"We've worked hard on our press (offense)," said UCCS coach Lance Hammond. "The kids did a good job of getting three outlets and then attacking (the press). I don't think their press bothered us all night."

CSU put together a lighting-quick 12-2 run to open up a 36-26 lead. The Mountain Lions were able to whittle it down to 40-35, but the Rams closed with a 18-5 run over the final 5:28, incuding an 8-0 spurt in the final two minutes, giving them a deceptive 18 point lead at the half.

"They had that run in the last two minutes of the half and we didn't have time to answer," said Hammond. "We were able to answer their first run."

In the half, Colorado State shot a mind-boggling 71.4 percent (20-for-28), including a 10-for-6 performance from 3-point range. UCCS wasn't too shabby, either, hitting 51.6 percent from the field, including 5-for-11 from long range.

"They're a very good basketball team and they shot the ball very well in the first half," said Hammond, who then smiled. "If we were going to stay closer than 18, we had to hope they would miss some of those open shots."

McGuire was 9-for-17 from the field. His performance was all the more remarkable because he had a pair of 7-footers, Jason Smith and Stuart Creason, covering him most of the night.

"It's hard when they're 7-foot and more athletic than you," said McGuire. "You're just trying to make sure your footwork is that much better and make lots of ball fakes."

Smith led the Rams (10-2) with 19 points.

UCCS also got good production from Snyder (13 points on 6-of-8 shooting), Forrest (11 points, five assists), Matt Cordova (3-for-5 from 3-point range and five assists) and Patrick Simpson (2-for-3 on 3-pointers).

While the early season tour through the who's who of tough opponents is thankfully over, it looks to have served its purpose. Wednesday's game, in paticular, gave the Mountain Lions plenty of reason to be optimistic.

"It gives us a lot of confidence knowing we can execute our stuff against a Division I (opponent)," said McGuire. "This gives us a boost of confidence knowing we can go out and play with anybody."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Matt CordovaMatt Cordova15G/FFr.
Matt CordovaMatt Cordova15G/FFr.
P.J. ForrestP.J. Forrest05G
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
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