Mountain Lions facing a "win-and-in" scenario after loss to Metro
DENVER â€" The Mountain Lions will be in a familiar position when they face the Regis Rangers on Saturday; the game will be a must-win.
A dominating 20-3 run to open the second half blew open a close game and gave the Metro State Roadrunners a 87-65 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Friday evening at the Auraria Event Center.
With the loss, UCCS dropped to 8-10 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play (10-16 overall). That, combined with wins by both Chadron State and Nebraska-Kearney, puts the Mountain Lions in a four-way tie for the remaining two playoff spots.
Subject to verification by the RMAC, the Mountain Lions will advance to the playoffs with a win over Regis Saturday. The winner of the Colorado Christian-Nebraska-Kearney game will also advance. Chadron State can advance only by beating Colorado Mines and with UCCS losing to Regis.
â€œWe have to (win); thatâ€TMs as simple as it gets,â€ said UCCS senior Cole Smith, who led UCCS with 14 points. â€œIf we want to keep playing, we have to bring it tomorrow night.â€
Metro State led by as many as four and UCCS by as many as three in a gritty first half Friday. The Roadrunners, however, took a 41-37 lead into the intermission by blanking the Mountain Lions in each of their final five possessions.
The Roadrunners opened the second half with a devastating 20-3 run over the first 6:33 with Donte Nicholas and Reggie Evans each scoring seven.
â€œWe just played a little timid, a little passive, a little less aggressive than we should have been,â€ said Smith.
UCCS coach Russ Caton went to his bench with just under 10 minutes remaining and trailing 69-45 in hopes of preserving his startersâ€TM legs for Saturdayâ€TMs game.
Luke Hristou and Scott Sublousky each added nine points for UCCS, while Tommy Klausner, Jordan McClung and Ben Feilmeier each had eight. Klausner had a team-best eight rebounds and Hristou had four assists.
Metro State (21-6, 14-6 RMAC) got 21 points Brian Minor and 18 each from Nicholas and Evans. Jonathan Morse added 13 points and 11 rebounds.
UCCS has never beaten Metro State in 36 tries. The Mountain Lions are hoping to get attempt No. 37 in the RMAC playoffs.
â€œWe know how not to play tomorrow night,â€ said Smith, alluding to not repeating the mistakes of Fridayâ€TMs game. â€œWeâ€TMll just go after it as hard as we can.â€
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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