Late rally falls short as UCCS falls to Regis
DENVER - Mama said there'd be days like this.
One night after an inspired, albeit unsuccessful, second-half comeback against powerful Metro State, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs had a decidedly uninspired performance in a 98-81 loss to the Regis Rangers Saturday evening at Regis Fieldhouse.
There were moments, though, that the Mountain Lions looked like the team they have been trying to become. Chief among those was a rally late in the second half that nearly got them back into the game.
"It was nice to see us finally play some basketball," said UCCS coach Russ Caton. "We went so guard oriented (recently) that we lost track of what good basketball is."
And part of that good basketball is to get the ball into the post. Cole Smith, who has been very limited over the past six games because of a painful leg injury, came off the bench to spark UCCS' attempt to get back into Saturday's game. The junior from Burlington scored nine points as the Mountain Lions went on a 19-6 run to cut a 24-point deficit to 86-75 with 3:18 remaining.
"I should know better " on the second night we should go to the post about 90 percent of the time," said Caton. "I realized that, finally, and we started scoring in the post. That was what was effective for us."
Nick Weaver led five Mountain Lions in double figures with 20 points. Chris Fernandez added 13, while Smith had 11 and Ben Feilmeier and Scott Sublousky had 10 each.
Matt Roskinski led Regis (6-11, 3-6 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 22 points. Jason Burke-Kavros added 21 points, all in the second half, and had five assists. Isaiah Johnson grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Mountain Lions were outshot from the field 51.5 percent to 48.1 percent and from the line 80.6 percent to 67.5 percent. In addition, they were outrebounded 37-32 and committed 17 turnovers while forcing just 13.
A fair portion of the blame for Saturday's malaise, ironically, was the result of Friday's big comeback. As the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference East Division's "lone wolf," UCCS was forced to face the hyper-physical Rangers on dead legs.
"I don't want to make that an excuse," said Caton. "We need to find ways to play smarter and get some other guys to step up a little bit and we can overcome that."
But thats not as easy as it sounds. Each of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's two divisions is comprised of seven teams. Six of those are paired off as travel partners, with both teams playing a comparable set of travel partners on a given weekend. The seventh team becomes what is referred to as the "lone wolf." That team has the misfortune of having to play two teams -each of which plays only one game that week -on back-to-back nights. The obvious result is that, on the second night, the lone wolf is playing on tired legs against a team that has fresh legs. Additionally, the lone wolf has to prepare strategically for two opponents while each of the teams it will face has the entire week to prepare for them.
Regis coach Lonnie Porter's teams are known for defense and that was very much on display in the first half as UCCS was held to 35.7 percent shooting overall and just 1-of-7 from 3-point range. The Rangers, with the help of 12 points each by Bill Brandenberg and Matt Rosinski, led by as many as 17 in the opening period and went into the intermission with a 48-34 advantage.
In the second half, the Rangers were the ones who looked like the running team. Just three minutes into the second half, Regis had extended its lead to 60-38.
Besides Smith's return, UCCS also got double-digit minutes from freshman Levi Harris. Caton said that in order to overcome the lone wolf schedule, it will be necessary for more players to step up and contribute.
"We still battled, though, these guys have heart," said Caton. "Hopefully we can get some extended minutes out of these guys so we can be a little stronger and a little fresher on that second night."
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|March 9, 2009||McCollum, Smith honored by RMAC||Frank McCollum and Cole Smith of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs were named to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference menâ€™s basketball second- and third-teams, respectively, the conference announced Wednesday.|
|March 3, 2009||Mountain Lions fall to Metro State in first round of RMAC playoffs||History will have to wait - again.|
|March 2, 2009||UCCS headed to postseason play for only third time in school history||In just three seasons as the men's basketball coach at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Russ Caton has accomplished something that none of his predecessors managed - he qualified for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs twice.|
|February 28, 2009||UCCS makes RMAC playoffs despite loss to Metro in regular season finale||There was a classic case of bad news / good news for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Saturday evening.|