Mountain Lions look in mirror during loss to Mesa State

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 21, 2006

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team got an up close and personal look Saturday night at what the Mountain Lions are trying to become.

The Mesa State Mavericks shot 55 percent from the field, including 58.3 percent from 3-point range, to defeat UCCS 69-46 at the Lions' Den. Mesa State coach Jim Heaps apprenticed under UCCS interim coach Doug Schakel, making the game often look like an intrasquad scrimmage with different uniforms as the teams ran many of the same sets.

"We definitely know that that's where we want to be," said UCCS guard P.J. Forrect, who had six points and four assists. "We see how effective it can be once it's pretty much mastered."

Mesa State (12-5, 6-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) put on a beautiful display of the type of mastery to which the Mountain Lions aspire. The Mavericks ran the Schakel-designed sets more crisply and more effectively, which was not unexpected since UCCS had only been running them for four practice sessions and one game. The Mavericks reversed the ball diligently and consistently got quality shots, resulting in the gaudy percentages.

"It's kind of frustrating because (Mesa State players) had two or three years in (the system) and we've only had five days," said Forrest. "We've been used to playing pressure (defense) where we're on our man all the time. Now, we're packing the paint and trying to take way easy buckets."

A Patrick Simpson 3-pointer at the buzzer cut Mesa State's halftime lead to 35-27. The Maverick opened the second half with a 26-5 burst that removed any doubt of the outcome.

Patrick Hannaway led UCCS (2-15, 1-8 RMAC) with 12 points and six of the Mountain Lions' paltry 15 rebounds. Bly McGuire added 11 points.

Adam Wall led Mesa State with 15 points, while Kenny Schlagel and Kurt Bangle added 11 each.

While the losses incurred are frustrating to players and fans alike, the team sees nothing but positive in the learning and implementing of Schakel's principles.

"Once we find a way to get it all together and get everybody flowing on one chord and get the system down and get everybody playing defense hard, it's going to be a thing that might just turn around this year," said Forrest.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

P.J. ForrestP.J. Forrest05G
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
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