UCCS hands Mesa State first RMAC loss
COLORADO SPRINGS- Mesa State's bid for a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference first ended Saturday night in the Lions' Den.
Bly McGuire led five University of Colorado at Colorado Springs players in double figures as the Mountain Lions ended the Mavericksâ€TM bid to become the first RMAC West Division team to sweep all seven games in a season against the East Division. Mesa State fell to 6-1 in the conference and 10-4 overall.
For McGuire, denying the Mavericks their place in history had a sweet taste.
"I've been taking 30-point beat-downs from (Mesa State) for the past three years," said McGuire, a senior. "That's the first time I've ever beat them.
"It feels awesome."
The 364 Den-izens in attendance would agree. They would also tip their collective hats to coach Russ Caton's strategy of using Mesa State's physical game against them.
"It was definitely part of the game plan, to pound it inside and try to get them in foul trouble," said McGuire. "It seemed to work pretty good."
Indeed it did. McGuire had 22 points and a game-high nine rebounds for UCCS (11-3, 5-2 RMAC). Patrick Hannaway was close behind with 21 points and seven rebounds.
But the big men weren't the only ones scoring. Nic Fuller went 4-for-4 from 3-point range to account for 16 points, while Joe Scott had 11 and Kyle Perkins added 10. Fuller and Scott were the playmakers with eight and seven assists respectively.
Stephen Soriano led the Mavericks with 27 points, 12 of which came from the foul line as the senior used his quickness to beat defenders off the dribble.
"He's a tough matchup," said McGuire. "He's not really a legit big man and he's not really a guard. He's somewhere in between."
The Mountain Lions outrebounded Mesa State 36-28, including 15 on the offensive glass.
UCCS ran out to a 20-6 lead in the game's first seven minutes. That lead had grown to 15 with 8:03 remaining before Mesa State closed with a 15-9 run to cut it 36-27 at the intermission.
Scott nailed three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the second half as the Mountain Lions extended their lead to 57-32. Mesa State cut the lead to 13 on two occasions but each time UCCS answered with a big shot or two. The Mavericks closed with a 12-4 run against the end of the UCCS bench to account for the final margin.
That Mesa State's bid for history would end at UCCS is tinged with irony since the Mavericks came into Saturday's game with a 13-2 record all-time at the Lions' Den.
The Mountain Lions, who have won three straight and six of their past seven, will play at Chadron State on Thursday and at Nebraska-Kearney on Saturday.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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