UCCS' big second half not enough to notch first-ever win over Metro State

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 23, 2009

DENVER â€" The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs hung 57 points in the second half on the renowned Metro State defense but it wasnâ€TMt enough to overcome a big deficit as the Mountain Lions fell 92-81 to the Roadrunners Friday evening at Auraria Fieldhouse.

The Mountain Lions (4-12, 4-4 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) shot 51.4 percent with only two turnovers in the period, outscoring Metro State 57-48.

“Itâ€TMs a whole different ballgame when the ball goes through the bucket,” said UCCS coach Russ Caton. “We were shooting a lot of the same kind of open threes that we shot in the first half when we didnâ€TMt hit anything. In the second half, for some reason, we started hitting them. That just builds your momentum … everything changes when you start hitting a couple of buckets.

“Everybody did a good job of stepping up and playing their roles. It was a good second half â€" a gut check â€" for the whole team. If we can put two (halves) like that together against Metro, we might finally (beat) them.”

But, unfortunately, that wasnâ€TMt the case in the first half.

Metro State (14-3, 8-1 RMAC) built a 44-24 lead and forced 15 turnovers. It was the lowest-scoring half of the season for the Mountain Lions, four points fewer than the 28 they put on the board in the first half against Air Force on Nov. 22. In the period, UCCS made just one of its 12 3-point attempts and just 1-of-12 from 3-point range.

“(Metro Stateâ€TMs) intensity makes you shoot quickly,” said Caton. “It bothers people.”

Chris Fernandez and Jordan McClung made 3-pointers and Frank McCollum added a layup as UCCS scored the first eight points of the second half. At the 14:24 mark, three Ben Feilmeier free throws made it 56-46.

The lead was cut to six after a Tommy Klausner tip-in with 9:44 remaining. At 5:22, two Nick Weaver free throws made it four, delighting the large contingent of UCCS fans which included the entire Mountain Lion softball team.

But thatâ€TMs as close as it would get. Metro State made its free throws down the stretch to hold onto the win.

Weaver led UCCS with 25 points, while Klausner and Fernandez each added 11 and Feilmeier had 10. Klausner also had a game-high 10 rebounds.

“It was nice to see (Klausner) have some big plays for us inside,” said Caton. “We really needed that.”

Donte Nicholas led six Metro State players in double figures with 18 points.

UCCS is now 0-32 all-time against Metro State.

“In conference, you just canâ€TMt expect to play a half of basketball and come out on top, especially against a good, athletic team like Metro,” said Caton.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FR-Fr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FFr.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez30FSo.
Chris FernandezChris Fernandez24F
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