Metro State makes it 31 wins in a row over UCCS

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 9, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Make that 31 times and counting.

The Metro State Roadrunners shot a ridiculous 75 percent from the field and 90.5 percent from the foul line in the second half, turning a close game into a 109-80 blowout of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Saturday evening at the Lions' Den.

With the win, the Roadrunners improved to 31-0 all-time against UCCS.

Metro State (15-11, 8-7 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) made 18 of its 24 second-half field goal attempts and went 19-of-21 from the line in the period.

Lawrence Billings led Metro State with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Guiseppe Ciancio added 19, 15 of which he scored in the Roadrunners' 59-point second half.

Freshman Abram Ziemer led UCCS (7-16, 3-12 RMAC) with a career-high 18 points and five assists. Nic Fuller added 17 points, while Frank McCollum had 14 points and eight rebounds.

"Coach (Russ Caton) has been telling us to let the ball fly and get more shots up in the game, so that's what we've been doing," said Ziemer, who is averaging 10.7 points over the past seven games after averaging 0.8 points per game over the first 16. "I've been getting open looks so things have been happening."

The Mountain Lions set a new season high with 13 3-pointers made and matched their season high with 38 attempts from that range. The focus on the perimeter is more a child of necessity than choice. Injuries and defections have left Caton with a roster of guards.

"We've kind of changed our game a little over the last couple of games," said Caton. "We're going with five guards (because) that's what we have. We'll live and die by the three (pointer)."

The Mountain Lions made five of their first eight 3-point attempts to build a 21-12 lead in the first 5:31. Metro State answered with an 11-2 run behind five points by Marquise Carrington to tie the game.

McCollum gave UCCS its final lead of the game, 41-40, with a 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining in the half. The Roadrunners, though, closed the period with a 10-0 run, seven of which were scored by Carrington.

It proved to be a harbinger. Metro State opened the second half with a 15-6 run and never looked back.

Caton continued his recent trend of getting extensive playing time for his freshmen. Ziemer and Jordan McClung each logged 26 minutes, while Rob Howe more than doubled his previous season-high with 20 minutes. Chris Fernandez saw seven minutes and Bryan Winkel played three.

"The freshmen are doing great; I love what they're doing," said Caton. "It's good to get those guys some experience. In a season like this, that may be the only positive we get."


UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Abram ZiemerAbram Ziemer10GFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FSo.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez24F
Bryan WinkelBryan Winkel15GJr.
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