Late buckets propel men’s basketball to two big home wins

     The UCCS Mountain Lions men’s basketball team continued their home stand with two consecutive victories against RMAC opponents in two tightly contested matches. 

     Head coach Jeff Culver and the Mountain Lions, fresh off a victory over the Adams State Grizzlies, welcomed the Metro State Roadrunners for the first time this season on Jan. 21. The Roadrunners entered the contest with wins in five of their last seven matchups. 

     After beginning the first half slowly, only scoring ten points through the first nine minutes of the game, the Mountain Lions fended off the Roadrunners on the boards, out-rebounding them 51-38 over the course of the game. 

     Off a top of the key three-pointer from freshman forward Mac Stodart, the Mountain Lions had their largest lead of the night to start the second half. The 11-point advantage would decimate over the following minutes, with the Roadrunners coming back to tie the game with just four minutes remaining. 

     However, sophomore guard Alijah Comithier knocked down two back-to-back heat check threes in a span of just thirty seconds, while junior guard Jon’il Fugett hit one of his own with only 36 seconds to play. 

#2 Alijah Comithier dunks against Metro State on Jan. 21. Photo by Lillian Davis.

     These shots closed the door on the Roadrunners’ comeback attempt, and the Mountain Lions held off Metro State for their eleventh win on the season, 67-64. 

     “It wasn’t just me, it was my teammates,” Comithier said. “Without them, we couldn’t have got it done in the way we did.” 

      Comithier, who recorded his second double-double of the season with a 21-point, 12-rebound performance, gave props to the Roadrunners after the game. 

     “Metro’s a really good team, so us coming together at the end of the game, clamping the defense [in] the best way we can really took us to the victory tonight,” he said. 

     The Mountain Lions improved their shooting drastically in the second half compared to the first, going from 34% in the field to a much improved 43%. 

     UCCS Men’s Basketball took their second win of the weekend with a huge comeback on Jan. 22 against visiting Colorado Christian University. After trailing by as much as 17 points during the first 37 minutes of gametime, the Mountain Lions pulled through, and a three-pointer from redshirt sophomore guard Bobby Martin secured their first lead of the game with three minutes left to play.  

     CCU’s vigorous offense took UCCS by surprise in the first 10 minutes of the game, and a slow start from the Mountain Lions caused them to see a score deficit of 16 points by the eighth minute. Successful three-point shooting from the Cougars allowed them to hold a comfortable lead for the duration of the first half. 

     By the end of the first half, UCCS gained some momentum and were able to narrow CCU’s lead to 7 points, ending the half 33-40. 

     To start off the second half, UCCS matched the pace of their opponents, and the two teams bounced back and forth, responding to each other with two-pointers.  

     After some foul trouble, UCCS was back down to a 17-point deficit by the middle of the second half. Offensive rebounding under the Cougars’ basket also allowed CCU to advance their lead. 

     Some free throw opportunities and a series of three-pointers put UCCS back in the game with a score of 64-68 with six minutes to play.  

     Martin’s three-pointer with just over three minutes to play put UCCS at 69-68 for their first lead of the game. Martin scored a season-high 14 points, all in the second half. Another three from Jon’il Fugett broke a 71-71 tie with two minutes to play, securing a lead that UCCS held onto for the remainder of gametime. 

     During the last minute of play, the Mountain Lions put pressure on CCU as they attempted to foul their way back to the basket. Despite some returns from opposing player DJ McDonald, who shot 7-9 from behind the arc, UCCS held onto their lead and won the game 84-77. 

     The Mountain Lions will look to extend their three-game winning streak when they travel to Las Vegas to take on New Mexico Highlands Cowboys on Jan. 25.