UCCS suffers pointless loss
DURANGO- It all seemed so, well, pointless.
Playing without a point guard, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs was beaten 114-76 by the Fort Lewis Skyhawks Friday night at Whalen Gymnasium.
Mountain Lions coach Doug Schakel learned prior to the game that both of his point guards, P.J. Forrest and Leo Thomas, were academically ineligible for the game because of a procedural problem. Both meet all academic requirements, but will remain ineligible until the NCAA responds to repeated calls from the UCCS administration requesting official reinstatement.
"How many more blows are these kids going to have to take?" said Schakel before the game. "They keep hanging in there, though."
The Mountain Lions hung in there for much of the first half. In fact, a Bly McGuire jumper with 6:37 left tied the score at 22. Fort Lewis was clinging to a two-point advantage with four minutes remaining when the Skyhawks went critical mass. Behind seven points from Guy Meyer, Fort Lewis ended the half with a 19-6 explosion that sent UCCS to the locker room shell shocked.
Much of that shock came as a result of the Fort Lewis press, which magnified UCCS' lack of a point guard. The Skyhawks forced 12 turnovers, which resulted in 18 points, in the first half alone. For the game, the Mountain Lions were pressed into a season-high 26 turnovers that resulted in 43 Skyhawks points.
Like a shark smelling blood in the water, Fort Lewis coach Bob Hofman had his team press on every occasion. As the lead went to double digits, the Skyhawks pressed. The lead passed 20 and they pressed. When it broke 30, they pressed.
Pat Simpson and Matt Cordova, both normally shooting guards, handled duty at the point. Simpson responded with a career-high eight assists, while Cordova added four assists, just one off his career best.
"We all trust (Simpson) and we all knew he was going to do a good job," said senior forward Dan Deveau. "We just didn't have much depth."
For Simpson, who played a career-high 36 minutes, fatigue was a factor.
"It's a lot more tiring guarding the point guard because he's usually a quicker guy," said Simpson. "Handling the ball is a lot more tiring. Plus, (the Skyhawks) press a lot."
Patrick Hannaway had a game-high 26 points to lead the Mountain Lions (2-18, 1-11 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). Bryan Snyder came off the bench to add 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting and Bly McGuire added 10 points.
Another player who stepped up big for UCCS was forward Dan Deveau. Playing almost exclusively at the wing, where he is most comfortable, rather than the post, Deveau poured in 18 points, plus had four assists and three steals.
"I like playing defense out top," said Deveau. "My first three years here, I didn't play the post very much, so I'm more comfortable out there."
Ryan Mortensen led five Skyhawks in double figures with 20 points. One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country, Fort Lewis (13-6, 9-3 RMAC) went 15-for-33 from long range.
For many UCCS players, showing improvement is little consolation as the losses mount.
"It's still frustrating," said Simpson. "I've been through this for three years and it's tough to keep saying we're getting better, but we are. It's noticeable. We're getting better every day in practice and we're also getting better in games. We're going to get somebody eventually- this year.
"We're not done yet."
And that, emphatically, is the point.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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