Mountain Lions rally behind their coach, come back to beat Nebraska-Kearney

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 30, 2009

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" The news Friday afternoon was that University of Colorado at Colorado Springs menâ€TMs basketball coach Russ Caton had suspended Nick Weaver, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferenceâ€TMs leading scorer, for the remainder of the season. The news Friday night was that the Mountain Lions were better for it.

UCCS overcame a nine-point second-half deficit to defeat the Nebraska-Kearney Lopers 81-73 at the Lionsâ€TM Den.

With Weaverâ€TMs 23.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game missing, Caton needed other players to elevate their games. Thatâ€TMs exactly what he got.

Steven Clements tied a UCCS single-game record for blocked shots with four. Tommy Klausner scored a career-high 15 points. Ben Feilmeier dished out a career-high six assists. Frank McCollum added 11 points.

Among the standout performances, Jordan McClungâ€TMs shone brightest. The sophomore had season highs with 21 points and eight rebounds while also getting five assists.

“Jordan did a really good job tonight passing the ball, looking for open people, taking his open shots,” said Klausner. “I think we all just played a really good game tonight.”

Klausner said that the team rallied around Caton Friday.

“He instills a lot of inspiration in us,” said Klausner. “We all went out there and played really hard for him tonight.”

One thing Caton expected to be better was his teamâ€TMs defense, but that wasnâ€TMt the case through the first 25:28 of the game. To that point, the Lopers had shot 58.5 percent from the field. Minutes later, UNK extended its lead to nine.

Over the final 14:30, however, the Mountain Lions held Nebraska-Kearney to just seven field goals in 29 attempts.

The lead was still nine at 62-53 with 10 minutes remaining when UCCS took over. From that point, the Mountain Lions outscored the Lopers 28-11.

Drake Beranek led Nebraska-Kearney (6-11, 3-7 RMAC) with 31 points and eight rebounds. Max Froehlich added 16 points, while Richard Marion had 11 points and five assists and Jeremy Cruise had 10 points and eight assists.

The Mountain Lions, who improved to 5-5 in the RMAC and 5-13 overall, face Chadron State on Saturday at the Lionsâ€TM Den.

“We played a really good game tonight,” said Klausner. “If we do what we did tonight, I think weâ€TMll be fine the rest of the season.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42G
Frank McCollumFrank McCollum42GSr.
Steven ClementsSteven Clements54C/FJr.
Steven ClementsSteven Clements54C/FSr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FR-Fr.
Tommy KlausnerTommy Klausner44C/FFr.
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