Mountain Lions bested in bitter defensive struggle with Mines

By Doug Fitzgerald published February 19, 2010

COLORADO SPRINGS â€" Friday's game was not a must-win for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's basketball team. After its 67-56 loss to the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers, Saturday's game just became one.

The Mountain Lions slipped to 7-9 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play (9-15 overall). With road games against Metro State (12-4) and Regis (3-13) on tap for next weekend, Saturday's final home game against 8-8 Colorado Christian becomes the season's most important game.

"This late in the year, all the games are big games," said UCCS coach Russ Caton. "I try to coach it that way; that every game is a big game. Hopefully (the players) do so they don't put added pressure on themselves by making one game bigger than the other."

Despite the loss, UCCS holds a one-game lead over both Nebraska-Kearney and Chadron State for the fourth and final spot in the RMAC playoffs from the East Division.

Defense was the story Friday. UCCS was outstanding, holding the tough Orediggers to 40.8 percent shooting, including just 16.7 percent from 3-point range.

"We played good enough defense to win the game," said Caton. "The problem is they played better defense.

That they did. The Mountain Lions score was a season low and they hit only 36.2 percent from the field.

"They played a physical game inside and did a great job keeping us away from the bucket and denying us what we were trying to do," said Caton. "Usually when you hold a team to 40 percent you're going to be coming out on top."

Dale Minschwaner and Sean Armstrong each scored 18 points for Mines, which improved to 16-9, 13-4 in the RMAC. Minschwaner added a game-high nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

Ben Feilmeier was the only Mountain Lion to reach double figures with 12 points. Luke Hristou added nine and Jordan McClung had five assists. Chris Fernandez and Cole Smith each had six assists.

"A couple of bright spots; we outrebounded a good rebounding team (35-32) and we took the (3-pointer) away from them, which was what we wanted to do," said Caton. "They're a good team and they're number one on our side (the East Division) for a reason. They have some smart players. You have to give them a lot of credit; they play a smart game."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Jordan McClungJordan McClung14GFr.
Jordan McClungJordan McClung14GSo.
Jordan McClungJordan McClung14GFr.
Jordan McClungJordan McClung14GJr.
Cole SmithCole Smith32FJr.
Cole SmithCole Smith32F
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35FSo.
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
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