Curse lives as UCCS falls to Western State

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 14, 2007

GUNNISON -- The curse lives.

Friday's 70-66 loss to the Western State Mountaineers at Paul Wright Gym kept alive an unfortunate trend for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team.

When the Mountain Lions went to overtime to beat Colorado State-Pueblo in their previous game, it was the third straight time UCCS and the Thunderwolves had gone an extra period. The good news was that UCCS won all three games. The bad news coming into Friday's game was that the Mountain Lions had lost the game following the CSU-Pueblo game the previous two times.

Make it three in a row.

"Only stats guys would read anything into that," said UCCS coach Russ Caton. "We just didn't deserve to win that game. They outworked us."

Carlton Goggins scored 19 points, while Jeremy Brooks added 15 points and nine rebounds as the Mountaineers held off a late UCCS charge to improve to 4-5, 2-0 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Down 69-66, the Mountain Lions had a chance to tie with six seconds remaining, but Frank McCollum's inbounds pass caught Nic Fuller in no-man's land. Fuller caught the pass on the UCCS side of the midcourt line, but his momentum took him over before he could get rid of the ball.

"I was trying to pass it into the frontcourt and Nic was trying to get it in the backcourt," said McCollum. "We had some miscommunication."

Free throw provided the final margin.

UCCS (5-4, 1-2 RMAC) trailed by eight with four minutes remaining but was able to trim the lead to three with two minutes remaining. Each UCCS score, though, was answered by Western State free throws, keeping the Mountain Lions at arm's length.

McCollum led the Mountain Lions with 17 points, while Tomaul Hawkins and Nic Fuller each added 14 and Kyle Perkins had 13. McCollum and Perkins each grabbed six rebounds.

The balanced scoring has been a hallmark for UCCS so far this season. All five starters have led the team in scoring at last once this season.

"When somebody's not having a great night, you always know that someone will pick it up," said McCollum. "My shots were just going in tonight."

Western State's Steven Hudson was a pest all night, scoring 16 points and slapping his way to five steals.

The Mountain Lions will face Colorado State-Pueblo on Wednesday in a nonconference game in Pueblo.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Tomaul HawkinsTomaul Hawkins24GJr.
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