New-look Mountain Lions play well but can't come away with win

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 8, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS  - Message received. Emphatically.

Earlier this week, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs coach Russ Caton benched several key players in an attempt to send his team a message that passion and effort needed to be stepped up.

He got passion. He got effort. What he didn't get was a win. At least not quite yet.

Ben Feilmeier's 19 points weren't enough to prevent the Mountain Lions from suffering their third straight defeat, this one a 65-57 decision to the Mesa State Mavericks Saturday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

"Last night I thought we played some of the best defense we'd played in a long time," said Caton after Saturday's game. "Tonight, we played some strong defense and we started to get some things done offensively."

Feilmeier was the only Mountain Lion in double figures, but Luke Hristou and Alan Paul each added eight and Paul had a team-best seven rebounds.

"Obviously, it stinks to lose but I think we played really, really hard," said Feilmeier. "The team seems upbeat. Coming in with these different lineups, it seems like we've jelled together a lot faster than we thought we would."

UCCS outshot Mesa State 44.2 percent to 41.9 percent overall and 43.8 percent to 20 percent on 3-pointers. What they didn't do was make free throws. The Mountain Lions converted just 12 of their 22 attempts.

"You can't win college basketball games shooting 50 percent from the free throw line," said Caton.

Lance Fite led Mesa State (11-3, 7-3 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Colton Burgon added 16 points and Kalonji Paschal had 13, all from the foul line.

Mesa State made 27 of it 31 free throw attempts, an 87.1 percent accuracy mark. The Mavericks outscored UCCS (4-9, 2-7 RMAC) by 15 points at the foul line.

After  the first half ended in a 30-all tie, the Mountain Lions opened the second with a 9-0 run that included a pair of Feilmeier 3-pointers. Mesa State answered with a 14-4 spurt of its own with Fite accounting for eight.

Neither team could get more than three points ahead until a pair of Kalonji free throws gave Mesa State a 60-55 lead with 1:47 remaining. UCCS missed the front end of a one-and-one and Fite made it could, converting a Paschal pass into a layup and a 62-55 advantage.

Free throws accounted for the final margin.

"I felt like this was one game that we were doing enough things right that we deserved to get that one," said Caton, "but it didn't work out at the end."

They had chances. From the 7:16 to the 3:12 marks of the second half, the Mountain Lions committed seven turnovers.  despite that generosity, they were still within reach at the end.

"I think we had a little bit of fatigue at the end," said Caton. "I'm excited. I feel like there's a lot of new energy, and I feel rejuvenated by what these guys are doing and how they're playing together."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35FSo.
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
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