Lions fade in second half against Northern Colorado

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 9, 2006

GREELEY- Bly McGuire and Patrick Hannaway had 18 and 16 points respectively, but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs suffered its eighth straight defeat, 90-66 to the Northern Colorado Bears Monday night at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavillion.

It was the final game that the Mountain Lions will play this season against an NCAA Division I opponent. UCCS (1-12) is 0-4 against D-Is this year, having previously lost to Wyoming, Colorado State and Air Force.

Northern Colorado's big center, Kirk Archibeque, led the Bears with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while power forward Michael Gordy came off the bench to add 19 points.

The Mountain Lions effectively shut down Northern Colorado's dangerous perimeter game in the first half as the Bears, who came into the game shooting 35 percent from long range, made only 1-for-6.

"In the first half, we did a pretty good job defending the three," said Hanaway.

"We denied passes to the wings and Patrick Simpson did a good job tagging (Sean Taibi)," added UCCS forward Adam Kemp, who was part of the team's solid bench play on the night. "In the first half, we did a good job moving our feet and cutting them off."

There was a price to pay, though, as Northern Colorado (2-16) was able to work the ball inside and draw fouls, going 17-for-21 from the line in the first half alone. Working in the paint and at the line, Archibeque and Gordy accounted for 21 of the Bears' 40 points.

Despite Northern Colorado's power game, UCCS was able to stay in the game with deft shooting. The Mountain Lions shot 56 percent in the half and made 7-of-10 3-pointers to trail by only two at the break.

"We were moving the ball well," said Kemp. "All five guys on the floor can shoot it if we get them open."

Northern Colorado continued to get shots in the paint to open the second half, but not through the power game. Guards Sean Taibi, Matt Kline and Darren Jefferies were able to take advantage of the Mountain Lions' perimeter aggressiveness by getting them in the air and driving past them. One open, the Bears would either take the 15-footer of pass down low if UCCS stepped out to help.

After shooting just 45.8 percent in the first half, the Bears lit it up at a 69.6 percent clip in the second.

"We got penetrated upon in the second half. That's why their field goal percentage was so good," said Hannaway. "We were trying to keep them under 40 percent from the field but we obviously failed to do that."

The Mountain Lions, on the other hand, weren't able to get the 3-point opportunities they had in the opening period. UCCS was able to keep pace for a while by getting the ball inside to McGuire.

"They were trying to deny the shooters so I was able to get open shots," said McGuire.

When McGuire picked up his fourth foul early in the second half, though, UCCS' primary inside threat was stymied as well. As a result, the offense stagnated. When McGuire returned to the game later, he wasn't as effective.

"It was a stupid foul," said McGuire. "When you come back into the game cold, it's hard to get back into the rhythm."

Reserve Cody Blessing continued to show steady progress. The freshman scored 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting, including 3-for-3 from 3-point range. UCCS coach Lance Hammond was able to use his bench extensively, with non-starters logging 70 minutes. With the Mountain Lions playing their third game in nine days, keeping the starters fresh was a priority Monday.

UCCS hopes those fresh legs pay off on Wednesday, when the Mountain Lions face intra-city rival Colorado College at CC's Reid Gymnaium

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Adam KempAdam Kemp25F
Adam KempAdam Kemp25F
Cody BlessingCody Blessing14G-F
Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
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