Howe's Career High, Inspired Team Effort Comes Up Short in Loss to Highlands

By Doug Fitzgerald published January 29, 2011

COLORADO SPRINGS - For the second time in as many nights and the fourth time this season, the Mountain Lions had a chance to get a win at home in the waning seconds and came up short.

Senior Rob Howe had 21 points and nine rebounds, both career highs, but was stripped of the ball with 11 seconds remaining, allowing the New Mexico highlands Cowboys to come away with a 90-84 victory over the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Saturday evening at the Gallogly Events Center.

"Maybe it's not in the cards for us to win a lot of games this year," said UCCS coach Russ Caton, "but if we can play with that kind of effort and play with that kind of intensity and fire and not come out on the winning side of things, I could be happy with that."

After an inspired comeback, UCCS found itself trailing by three with 21 seconds left. The plan was to get a quick hoop and foul since the Cowboys had struggled from the free throw line most of the night. Howe got the pass, dribbled once, and found himself converged upon by three Highlands players. The ball was pulled away and Chris Newsome dove to the floor to retrieve it.

"We ran a block-to-block screen for me," said Howe. "I guess they knew it was coming. I had it and put a dribble down - maybe there was some contact, I thought there was.

"That was tough at the end of the game; I wish we could have that one back.".

Newsome made the first of his two free throws and, in an attempt to get the ball downcourt quickly, UCCS turned it over again. Two more Cowboy free throws made the final margin a poor reflection of how close the game was.

Howe made eight of his 12 field goal attempts and six of his nine free throws. In his past four games, the De Soto, Texas, native has matched a career high scoring and then broke it twice. Over that span, he has shot 64.3 percent from the field.

"Things are going my way," said Howe. "I'm shooting a high percentage; shots are going down, teammates are finding me, I'm getting minutes, I'm playing well defensively. I'm playing the best basketball of my career."

Ben Feilmeier scored 17 points for UCCS (6-13, 4-11 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). Alan Paul added 14 points and Brent Jones 12. Damar Hill handed out eight assists.

To even get to where they had a chance at the end, the Mountain Lions had to come up with an inspired comeback. Trailing 67-55 with 9:52 remaining, a Howe layup and a 33-pointer by Luke Hristou started a 16-5 UCCS run that tied the score at 72 with 5:36 left.

"I was really pleased with the way they responded," said Caton. "When we were down, it could have really turned into an ugly game. They didn't settle for it and they put themselves into a position to have a shot at a good team at the end."

The score was tied five more times, each with Highlands going ahead and the Mountain Lions answering. Finally, an emphatic dunk by Paul following a wraparound pass by Feilmeier gave UCCS its first lead of the second half at 84-82 with 1:03 on the clock.

Thomas Manzano, the RMAC's leading scorer, drove down the floor in a flash for a layup and foul. His three-point play after just four seconds of UCCS in the lead put Highlands up for good, 85-84.

"Manzano got loose there at the end with the 'and one' and that hurt us," said Howe. " We still had a chance to close; we just couldn't come up with it."

After Hill's runner in the lane was blocked by Ledreece Smith, Smith found Newsome cutting to the hoop for an 87-84 advantage.

Manzano led all scorers with 22 points, while Newsome had 18 and Momcilo Latinovic had 16 for Highlands (14-5, 10-5 RMAC).

"It was one of those games where it was a great team effort and some guys stepped up and played with a lot of heart.," said Caton. "We played dome good basketball although we didn't come out on top.

"We competed and did some things right and, in the end, I think that's the important thing."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Rob HoweRob Howe32FFr.
Rob HoweRob Howe21FSo.
Rob HoweRob Howe21F
Rob HoweRob Howe21FSr.
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35FSo.
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
Luke HristouLuke Hristou35F
Brent JonesBrent Jones10F
Brent JonesBrent Jones10FSr.
Alan PaulAlan Paul15G
Alan PaulAlan Paul15GSo.
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