Division I Texas-Pan American holds on to beat Mountain Lions

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 23, 2008

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" A seven-minute stretch of futility cost the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Sunday as the Mountain Lions were beaten 87-78 by the Division I Texas-Pan American Broncs during the Reggie Minton Air Force Classic at Clune Arena.

UCCS (0-3) led for all but 3:17 of the first half and were holding a slim 68-65 advantage after Nick Weaverâ€TMs jumper with 7:58 remaining in the game. The next Mountain Lion field goal would have to wait until Jordan McClung hit a runner with 50 seconds left.

UCCS committed five turnovers in six possessions at one point as the Broncs mounted a 13-2 run, and kept the advantage at six or better the rest of the way.

“To their credit, when they needed to get it done they stepped up and we folded against the intensity and the pressure,” said UCCS coach Russ Caton. “We need to learn to answer that instead of turning our backs to it.”

The loss denied Caton a chance to beat a Division I opponent for the third straight season. The Mountain Lions beat Northern Colorado in 2006 and Southern Utah in 2007.

Having already played Division II power Southwest Oklahoma State and two Division I teams, the Mountain Lions will continue their brutal nonconference slate by competing in a tournament in Chico, Calif., next weekend.

“Weâ€TMve had tough games, but weâ€TMre in every game,” said Caton. “I know we have a real tough nonconference schedule. It would be nice to learn through successful games, but if we have to lose to learn, thatâ€TMs what itâ€TMs going to have to be like.

“These games are making us stronger. We made some pretty big strides individually and as a team.”

One player making big strides was redshirt freshman Tommy Klausner, who notched his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“I didnâ€TMt even know I had a double-double,” said Klausner. “It makes me feel like Iâ€TMm doing a good job out there.”

Klausner, who played his high school ball at Weld Central High School, sat out last season with a foot injury. He said the talent of the Division I schools was eye-opening.

“Itâ€TMs different; coming from a small school itâ€TMs just different,” said Klausner. “Iâ€TMm still getting used to the pace of the game and getting used to the size of the players.”

Weaver led the Mountain Lions Sunday with 15 points, while Frank McCollum added 13 and Ben Feilmeier had 10.

Nic k Weiermiller led UTPA (2-3) with 19 points.

Through the difficult nonconference schedule, the Mountain Lions are trying to keep their eye on a bigger prize â€" their upcoming Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference schedulw. Everything theyâ€TMre doing now is intended to benefit them in conference play.

“Weâ€TMve just got to keep our heads up,” said Klausner. “Weâ€TMve got to realize that, even though we lost, weâ€TMre still improving as a team. Weâ€TMve got to see all of the positives that we can pull out of the game and fix all of the negatives.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FR-Fr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
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