UCCS wins second straight under Schakel
COLORADO SPRINGS- For years, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball program has had to measure success in terms of improvement rather than victories.
That measurement may have to change.
The Mountain Lions won their second straight game under interim coach Doug Schakel Saturday night, a 70-60 decision over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves at the Lions' Den. It marks UCCS' first two-game win streak since February of 2004.
Patrick Hannaway led UCCS (4-19, 3-12 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Bly McGuire added 17 points as the Mountain Lions shot 53.7 percent from the field thanks to methodical, precise execution of their offense.
"Everything gets easier because we wear them down," said UCCS guard Patrick Simpson, who had 10 points and a game-high six assists. "That makes it easier for our cuts and makes it easier for Bly and Pat to score inside and easier to get outside shots."
Jeff McCall led CSU-Pueblo (8-15, 4-11 RMAC) with 15 points, while Major Willette added 13 points and Steve Raquet had 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Thunderwolves struggled from the field, making only 34.9 percent of their shots overall and 20.7 percent from 3-point range.
A McGuire hook shot at the 11:34 mark gave the Mountain Lions a 14-13 lead that they would never relinquish as Schakel's patient offense frustrated CSU-Pueblo and delivered several layups and back-door dunks.
"It's all about patience with coach Schakel," said Simpson. "Before, we'd come down and take bad shots and let teams get on runs against us. That's what put us away in the past."
When the Thunderwolves adjusted to take away UCCS' inside game, Simpson made them pay by drilling all three of his first-half 3-point attempts.
"I got excited because they went to a zone and that opens up the outside shooting for us," said Simpson. "Bly and Pat were really doing a lot of damage inside on them. I was just the one who got the open shots."
After trailing by as many as 13, the Thunderwolves managed to cut the lead to 52-47 on a pair of Willette free throws with 6:56 remaining. UCCS answered with two Hannaway free throws and a 3-pointer and a Deveau 3-pointer to put the game away.
Deveau said that the Mountain Lions refusal to wilt in the face of the comeback is the result of a new attitude.
"We didn't know how to win," said Deveau, who was the fourth Mountain Lion in double figures with 13 points. "In the past, we didn't practice to win. Now, we've got the mindset that we can beat some teams. Now, we don't say 'we're up by three, let's try not to lose," instead we say "˜we're up by three, let's finish this thing off.'"
With the victory, Schakel matched the win total that took 40 games to accomplish under the previous regime. The win, combined with the UCCS women's victory earlier Saturday, gave the Mountain Lions a commanding 17-10 lead in the Steel and Silver Series.
"I think it's a big reflection on the athletic department," said Simpson. "I think it shows the step in the right direction that we're taking in all of our sports."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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