"Lone wolf" UCCS can't complete comeback against Western State
Dogs and cats living together â€¦ mass hysteria!
--- Bill Murray as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters
COLORADO SPRINGS â€" When Mountain Lions become lone wolves, the result is more than species confusion. It also makes for the occasional lackluster performance.
Such was the case Saturday evening as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs battled back from a 16-point deficit only to fall in the end 70-65 to the Western State Mountaineers at the Lionsâ€TM Den.
Each of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferenceâ€TMs 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 â€œlone wolf.â€ That team has the misfortune of having to play two teams â€" each of which plays only one game that week â€" 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.
â€œWhen you battle the first night, you have to come out and battle the second night,â€ said UCCS coach Jessika Caldwell.
Battle or not, the Mountain Lions most definitely had tired legs on Saturday.
Those tired legs resulted in 30 turnovers, 36.4 percent shooting and 28 personal fouls with three players fouling out.
Nineteen of the turnovers happened in the first half alone, when Western State built a 16-point lead with 4:11 remaining. Despite that, UCCS closed with a 9-3 run behind five points by Mallory Lowe to cut the halftime deficit to 40-30.
The Mountain Lions shook off the fatigue long enough to open the second half with a flurry. Payden Ackerman hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Janean Jubic added another. When Jazzmin Awa-Williams hit two free throws with 14:37 remaining, UCCS had completed the comeback and held a 45-44 lead.
â€œI thought our kids hung tough,â€ said Caldwell. â€œBeing down 10 at the half, they came out with a lot of fire and played hard through it.
â€œThatâ€TMs probably what hurt us: we had come back and dig out of a deficit.â€
The spent Mountain Lions could not take advantage of the change in momentum. UCCS led 54-52 with 6:59 remaining but Western State put together a 13-2 run over the next 3:30 to retake control of the game.
â€œIn a physical basketball game, your legs have a tendency to go and they went in the second half when they needed them the most,â€ said Caldwell. â€œWe hit that point and we couldnâ€TMt quite dig out of it.â€
Three-pointers by Ackerman and Jubic but the deficit to 65-62 with 1:23 left, but the Mountaineers were able to make enough free throws down the stretch to hold onto the win.
Jubic led UCCS (6-9, 4-3 RMAC) with 16 points, while Ackerman added 15. Lowe (11) and Awa-Williams (10) were also in double figures. Freshman Ashley Miller had a career-high nine rebounds.
Amber Murray led Western State (7-8, 3-4 RMAC) with 16 points.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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