UCCS hits 14 3-pointers on way to fourth straight win

By Doug Fitzgerald published December 31, 2011

PUEBLO - The University of Colorado Colorado Springs connected on 14 3-pointers and withstood a furious comeback attempt to defeat the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves 85-84 Monday afternoon at Massari Arena.
 
The Mountain Lions led 81-71 with 5:23 remaining, but back-to-back 3-pointers whittled that gap down to four at the 3:10 mark. Layups by UCCS' Matt Heydman and Jake Darby sandwiched a jumper by Arden Dennis to give the Mountain Lions an 85-79 lead with just under two minutes remaining.
 
Bryse Velasquez hit a 3-pointer to make it 85-82, and then Dennis stole the ball and was fouled. His free throws made it a one-point game at 85-84 with 1:15 remaining.
 
The Thunderwolves had two shots at the lead, but 3-pointers by Dennis and Velasquez were off the mark. On the second, UCCS' Alex Koehler grabbed the rebound and irony took over.
 
The Mountain Lions' success from long range kept them from the foul line - they were outscored 16-7 on free throws for the game. At the end, however, it helped as Koehler was immediately fouled but UCCS was not yet in the bonus. In fact, it took two more fouls to reach the bonus and by the time George Pollard stepped to the line, less than a second remained. That time ticked off without another shot.
 
The 14 3-pointers is tied for the third most by a UCCS men's basketball team and is the third time this season that the Mountain Lions have made that many or more. UCCS also hit 14 against Fort Lewis on Dec. 2 and followed that with a school-record 16 on Dec. 10. In each of those games, the Mountain Lions were playing on the road.
 
It was the fourth straight win for the Mountain Lions, who improved to 5-8 overall and 4-3 in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play.
 
UCCS was efficient from the field, hitting 54.2 percent from the field, including 51.9 percent on 3-pointers. During their four-game winning streak, the Mountain Lions have made 48 percent of their 3-pointers to rise to second in the RMAC at 39.3 percent for the season.
 
Pollard led five Mountain Lions in double figures with 20 points. Joining him in double digits were Darby (15), Jeff Isaac (12), Darius Pardner (12) and Koehler (11). Darby also led UCCS with five rebounds and was one of three Mountain Lions, along with Pollard and Pardner, to record five assists.
 
Andre Martin had 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, six rebounds  and five assists to lead CSU-Pueblo (6-5, 3-4 RMAC). Ty Trahern added 20 points, with Dennis got 17 and Velasquez 11.
 
The game had the added importance of earning two points for UCCS toward the Steel & Silver Series. The rivalry series awards four points to the winner of the season series in each of the 10 sports that the schools have in common. Since UCCS and CSU-Pueblo play each other twice in men's basketball, each of the two games is worth two points. Also, five points are awarded for the school whose student-athletes achieve the highest grade point average.
 
UCCS leads the 2011-12 Steel and Silver Series 16-4 with 23 points needed to clinch.
 
The Mountain Lions trailed by as many as 15 (22-7) in the first half, but roared back to tie it at 27 behind eight points by Pollard and six by Isaac. UCCS took a 41-40 lead into halftime.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Matt HeydmanMatt Heydman13G/FJr.
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