Staff: Fitzgerald places in national contest

By Kelly Hansen published September 10, 2007

For the fourth consecutive year, Doug Fitzgerald is a national award winner.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sports information director took third place in the event coverage category of the 2007 Fred W. Stabley National Writing Contest. Fitzgerald, who also holds the title of assistant athletic director, was the national winner in the same category in 2006, was second in 2005 and third in 2004.

"I'm a little surprised," said Fitzgerald. "But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pleased. These contests are judged by people who do the same job I do and to do well in their eyes is a huge honor."

Fitzgerald said he hopes to enter other categories of the contest this year. The UCCS Athletic Department has launched a new publication, "Lion Eyes," which is more feature-driven than the Web site. Four of the five Stabley contest categories are for different categories of features.

The winning entry, "UCCS erases big deficit to top CSU-Pueblo in overtime" follows:

PUEBLO - Patrick Hannaway clutched his arms to his chest, looked toward the bench and smiled.

He had good reason for the silent celebration. He and his University of Colorado at Colorado Springs teammates had just completed one of the most remarkable comebacks in school history to capture an 87-76 overtime victory over the Colorado State-Pueblo Thunderwolves Friday night at the Colorado State fairgrounds Events Center.

"I was just happy that we pulled it out," said Hannaway. "I just looked over at coach and gave him the 'yes.'"

The Mountain Lions overcame not only an 18-point second half deficit, but also trailed by five with less than 10 seconds left.

"It's a good feeling knowing we can pull those out," said Hannaway.

But pulling this one out bordered on the divine. The Thunderwolves had a seemingly insurmountable 69-64 lead with just 9.6 seconds remaining. UCCS got two free throws by Hannaway to cut it to three and managed a quick foul. CSU-Pueblo�s Brian Sewald missed his free throw, which Hannaway went high to rebound and called a quick timeout.

The inbounds play went to Joe Scott, who found Bly McGuire open downcourt. McGuire calmly drilled the 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

"I set a screen for (Hannaway) and both (defenders) went after him," said McGuire. "I saw (Scott) dribbling up the sideline so I found some open space. I had my feet set when I caught it."

The overtime was all UCCS. The Mountain Lions attacked the basket to build a six-point lead with a minute remaining. With CSU-Pueblo forced to foul, UCCS made 16 of its 18 overtime points on free throws.

Hannaway continued his assault on the UCCS record book with 37 points and 13 rebounds, both career highs. McGuire added 16 points, while Nic Fuller had 14 and Scott had 12.

With the win, the Mountain Lions improved to 5-1, matching their win total from last season and winning their Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener. UCCS also extended its lead in the Steel and Silver rivalry series against CSU-Pueblo to 11-6.

After a disastrous first half, the Mountain Lions fell behind 49-31 early in the second period on a 3-pointer by Brett Cloepfil.

"We went to a different defense and (CSU-Pueblo) had difficulty adjusting," said UCCS coach Russ Caton about his team�s second half. "The main reason we won, though, is that we just refused to lose."

The change worked. The Thunderwolves shot a woeful 27.6 percent from the field in the second half, including just 2-of-14 from 3-point range.

Buoyed by its defense, UCCS battled back methodically. Behind eight points by Hannaway, the Mountain Lions finally tied the game at 53 with 9:41 left in the game.

The Mountain Lions got a taste of what they�d been dishing out so far this season in the first half. UCCS has been successful so far this season by controlling the tempo of the game and shooting an RMAC-best 55.3 percent. CSU-Pueblo turned the tables by keeping the pace slow and shooting 66.7 percent in the half. The combination led to a 46-31 Thunderwolves lead at the intermission.

Center Jake Trahern scored 18 of his team-high 26 points in the first half for CSU-Pueblo (3-4, 0-1 RMAC).

After the game, senior Pat Simpson, who has suffered through three miserable seasons, could only smile.

"Tonight was amazing with the comeback and the heart this team showed," said Simpson. "In the past, we would have given up."

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
Patrick HannawayPatrick Hannaway34G/FSr.
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