Defense leads UCCS to 3-0 start

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 25, 2006

COLORADO SPRINGS- Friday, it was the offense that led the way. Saturday, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs showed off its defense.

Patrick Hannaway scored 29 points to lead the Mountain Lions to an 85-68 victory over the Menlo Oaks. The win gave the Mountain Lions the tournament title at the 2006 CC Thanksgiving Invitational, played at Colorado College's Reid Gymnasium.

It's the first time a UCCS men's basketball team has started a season 3-0.

"It's nice to have a good start like this, but we're definitely not satisfied," said Hannaway.

UCCS coach Russ Caton was dissatisfied with his team's penchant for trading baskets in its first two games and stressed that the Mountain Lions needed to increase the defensive effort and execution Saturday. They did so with a vengeance, at least in the first half, holding Menlo to 4-for-31 shooting.

"(Defense) was definitely our focus after last night," said Caton, referring to the Mountain Lions' 105-86 win over Carroll College on Friday. "It was good to see them respond."

The Oaks (2-3) had far more success in Saturday's second half, shooting 56.3 percent, but never seriously threatened the lead. Ryan Sewitsky had 15 of his team-high 17 points in the period, while Isreal Torres had 16 points and Bryon Wesley added 14.

"(Menlo) stepped it up," said Caton. "We were trying to get some repetitions with some different defenses that we're looking at doing so that probably took away from our strength.

"I think we got a little content with what we had and that changed the whole mindset of the game. It can be hard to reverse that once it gets started."

There was no such contentment offensively. UCCS scored 44 points in the paint and outrebounded Menlo 49-35.

Hannaway, meanwhile, continued to be nearly unstoppable. He made 11-of-16 from the field by using his quickness and agility to attack the rim. Most of his 60 points in the tournament came within five feet of the hoop.

"I'm going strong to the hole," said Hannaway. "If you're strong with the ball, good things are going to happen."

That they have. The senior from Colorado Springs' Doherty High School is shooting 80 percent from the field (36-of-45) so far this season.

Thanks largely to the defense, UCCS led by as many as 30 in the first half before settling for a 45-19 lead at intermission.

Bly McGuire added 13 points for UCCS while Joe Scott had 11. Bryan Snyder chipped in 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

Having now played three games, including two exhibitions, against NCAA Division I opponents and two against Division III teams, the Division II Mountain Lions will now face schools at their own level. UCCS will play two games in Gunnison next week, facing Minnesota State, Mankato on Friday and Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday.

"That's perfect for us," said Caton. "It's a great way to have the schedule and get us ready for conference."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bly McGuireBly McGuire33CSr.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
Bryan SnyderBryan Snyder54FSo.
Additional News Stories
October 22, 2007Lions help kick off Red Ribbon Week at CSDBThere are times when sight and sound are definitely overrated.
September 27, 2007UCCS men picked fourth in preseason pollAfter qualifying for their second playoff berth in school history in the 2006-07 season, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team was chosen to finish fourth in the East Division in the annual Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll.
May 30, 2007Hannaway named RMAC Scholar-AthletePatrick Hannaway was named the RMAC male Scholar-Athletes of the year for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the conference announced Wednesday.
May 10, 2007Caton Signs California ShooterHaving already signed five players, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball coach made it a six pack by adding Jared Giammona, a 6-foot-1 guard from Santa Rosa, Calif.
May 2, 2007Hannaway awarded postgraduate scholarshipPatrick Hannaway became the first University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student-athlete to be awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.
Visit our Facebook pageVisit the UCCS Mount Lion's Twitter pageVisit the UCCS Mountain Lions Youtube pageVisit UCCS Rss feeds