UCCS drops fourth straight

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 24, 2006

Mountain Lions- fans have yet to see any victories since interim coach Doug Schakel took over the team just over a week ago. Schakel, however, has.

Patrick Hannaway had 23 points and eight rebounds but the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs suffered its fourth straight loss, an 89-79 setback at the hands of the New Mexico Highlands Cowboys Tuesday night at the Lions' Den. The Mountain Lions are now 0-3 under their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame coach.

But for Schakel, not all victories are measured by the numbers on the scoreboard.

"We made progress tonight," said Schakel. "What I call it is 'little victories." We started piling up little victories tonight. I loved the way our kids battled â€" they didn't give up."

Schakel, who assumed coaching duties on Jan. 16, had only four days of practice before the Mountain Lions played their first two games on Friday and Saturday. He was pleased with the progress the Mountain Lions made in the two days between those games and Tuesday's game.

"Tonight was really the first time that I could get actively involved in the game," said Schakel. "Before, I had so little time with them that I could have shouted instructions and they wouldn't know what I was saying."

Bryan Snyder added 15 points for UCCS (2-16, 1-9 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). Bly McGuire had 14 points and P.J. Forrest had 13.

Robert Franklin was dominant for New Mexico Highlands (7-10, 3-7 RMAC) with 13 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and five steals. Jeremy Lopez led the Cowboys with 18 points, while Brandon Weaver and Tim Thompson both matched Franklin's 13 points.

The Mountain Lions led by as many as five in the first half as the team's execution on both ends of the floor was significantly better that what it had been over the weekend. Even after New Mexico Highlands reeled off a 16-3 run to take a 31-25 lead answered quickly with a 6-0 run, four of which were scored by McGuire.

After finishing the first half down just 36-33, UCCS was ambushed in the first two minutes of the second half. Behind six points from Aaron Romero, the Cowboys opened up a 50-37 advantage in the first 2½ minutes of the period.

"We're not in very good shape and, in part, that's my fault because we've had to do a lot of 'stop and talk' (in practice) trying to get people where they're supposed to be," said Schakel. "It showed in our defense right at the beginning of the second half. You could see that we didn't have the intensity, we weren't in position like we were in the first half.

"That'll come."

The deficit grew to as many as 20 late in the game and the Mountain Lions were behind 78-63 with 4:08 remaining when they made their final push. Patrick Simpson hit a 3-pointer, which was followed by a Hannaway layup. Another Hannaway drive cut the lead to 78-70 with 2:01 left. UCCS was forced to trade free throws for time and trailed 83-74 when a Snyder 3-pointer cut the lead to six with 34 seconds left. UCCS would get no closer.

UCCS now has two days to prepare for its next opponent, Colorado State-Pueblo, in a game which will count towards the Steel and Silver Series. But Schakel is more excited about the two days of practice between now and then. After Friday's game, he'll have four more days to get the Mountain Lions prepared before they take to the floor again.

"I'm looking forward to that," said Schakel. "We just need to build on this and get a good, solid week of practice and then I think we'll start to see the fruits of our labors."


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

P.J. ForrestP.J. Forrest05G
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
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