Dec. 08, 2014

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

The men’s basketball team is ranked eighth in the Dec. 2 NABC Division II national poll, the highest ranking in school history.

The 6-0 Mountain Lions are undefeated entering play on Dec. 5.

Against Johnson and Wales on Dec. 1, the Mountain Lions won 112-55, the largest margin of victory in school history.

Sophomore TreShawn Wilford had 12 points, 10 assists and five steals against the Wildcats.

“Every game I always try to put in three to four steals a game because that’s just a big part of the game that I like to pride on myself on,” said Wilford. “I hang my hat on defense.”

The Mountain Lions forced the Wildcats into 29 turnovers. Senior Darius Pardner said the game plan worked well.

“It was something like ‘guard your yard’ type of thing,” said Pardner. “Coach harped on us to play team defense, ball pressure, help-side defense and working as a unit.”

On the offensive end, Pardner tallied 11 points in just 1 1 minutes.

“Someone asked me what my goals were before the game and I really just said I wanted to be an offensive threat at all times,” he said. “I think I am one of the better defensive players in the league, but I want to be able to do it at both ends. I got a lot of shots up in pregame and it felt good.”

Head coach Jeff Culver substituted in sophomore Neiman Lee because of his ability to attack the glass, and Lee had an emphatic dunk.

“Coach was just emphasizing that we need to crash the boards,” said Lee. “I got an open lane, caught it and the rest just happened.”

Lee has the same mindset whenever he comes in to a game.

“Just try to be aggressive and share the ball,” said Lee. “Just trying to focus on one job whether it’s rebounding or putting the ball in the basket when you’re given minutes.”

The 6-0 start gives confidence to the players and coaching staff.

“It’ s huge for our confidence,” said Pardner. “I’m confident in myself, and I can’ t imagine how we feel as a team. If you asked anyone on the te am, we think that we are in a good spot. We have a lot to work on but to have no losses at this point, it feels nice.”

“It’ s real exciting,” added Wilford. “This start lets us know that we are on track to start the season. It lets others know that we are here to win.”

The Mountain Lions are next in action on Dec. 12 and 13, when Metro State and Regis come to the Gallogly Events Center.