UCCS tops Panhandle State in home opener

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 23, 2007

 Kyle Perkins and Tomaul Hawkins each had 24 points as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat the Oklahoma Panhandle State Aggies 88-81 Friday evening at the Lions' Den.

Perkins made 10 of his 13 field goal attempts and also had eight rebounds and three assists. Hawkins added six rebounds, five steals, four blocked shots and three assists.

After the teams went into halftime tied at 38, Panhandle State opened a 56-45 lead behind a 16-2 run during which Will Stephenson had eight points and Lachawn Anderson six. The Aggies made great use of their athletic guards by switching to a zone press that, for a while, frustrated the Mountain Lions.

"I think we got a little frustrated," said Perkins. "We have a half-court offense just for breaking the half-court press. We didn't execute it.

"When we executed, it worked perfectly."

They also got some big help from their smallest player. With leading scorer Nic Fuller saddled with foul trouble for much of the night, reserve Leo Thomas was pressed into extensive service. His quickness was exactly what UCCS needed.

"Their guards were long and athletic, so if we kept it on the outside, they had the advantage," said Thomas whose stats, no points and four assists, were modest. "So I penetrated and tried to make them collapse on me to create openings on the outside.

"It changed up the game; it took them out of that zone press."

It did indeed as the Mountain Lions found another gear. Frank McCollum had eight points as UCCS scored 14 straight to take a 59-56 lead. With the game tied at 61, the Mountain Lions mounted an 11-1 run to go up 72-62 with 7:04 remaining.

Fuller scored all 11 of his points in the final five minutes, the first of which was a 3-pointer that stalled the Aggies' final push. Panhandle State had trimmed the 10-point UCCS advantage to five when Fuller's trey and a subsequent pair of free throws by the senior point guard ended the push. The Aggies never threatened after that.

McCollum recorded his first career double-double for the Mountain Lions (2-1) with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Eric Davis added nine rebounds.

Stephenson led Panhandle State (1-1) with 25 points. Anderson added 21, while Luke Ogden grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

The game was the first for each team at the Hyatt Place Mountain Lion Classic. Panhandle State will face Adams State Saturday at 3:30 and UCCS will face Colorado College at 8 p.m.


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Leo ThomasLeo Thomas12GJr.
Leo ThomasLeo Thomas12GJr.
Leo ThomasLeo Thomas12GSr.
Eric DavisEric Davis35FFr.
Eric DavisEric Davis35FSo.
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Tomaul HawkinsTomaul Hawkins24GJr.
Kyle PerkinsKyle Perkins21FFr.
Kyle PerkinsKyle Perkins21FSo.
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