Dec. 1 vs South Dakota Mines
UCCS took a 5-0 lead in the first quarter with #21 Hannes Saar getting the scoring going on a three-point jumper. Mines then took the lead after two three-pointers with both teams consistently going back and forth during the first 10 minutes.
With five minutes remaining in the first half, UCCS took a 34-33 lead after a short run when Saar scored a three-pointer followed by a layup for #24 Mac Stodart. Both teams continued to consistently score for the final minutes to give UCCS the 41-40 lead going into the half.
The Mountain Lions started the second half stronger going on a 10-2 run and #22 Jezza McKenzie making the first three-pointer of the second half giving UCCS a larger lead. Saar knocked down another three to secure the lead to 55-49 and picking up the energy for the Mountain Lions. #11 William Becker sustained an injury to the shoulder during the second half that would take him out for the remainder of the game.
With less than two minutes left of the game, #15 Jesse Iweze gave UCCS a two-point lead until SDSM made another shot to tie the game. UCCS missed their opportunity to take the lead back and SDSM had the ball back with less than 50 seconds remaining. Mines scored to take the lead and left 0.9 seconds on the clock for UCCS to score and go to overtime.
With a timeout by UCCS, a play was created to score and tie the game and move into overtime. Stodart threw the ball across the court to Saar with another timeout called by UCCS and 0.6 seconds left. The ball was passed high towards the basket to Iweze, but the shot was missed and SDSM took the victory 70-68.
Saar was the leading scorer with 15 points followed by Iweze with 13 points. #02 Xavier Martinez and Stodart both finished with 10 points. Iweze and Saar were the leading rebounders with eight and seven rebounds respectively. Saar also finished with two steals and two assists and Martinez finished with three assists for the starting freshman. As a team, UCCS accumulated 40 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals.
Dec. 2 vs Black Hills State University
Becker did not compete or dress out against BHSU with the injury to his shoulder from the game the previous night. The Mountain Lions started strong against BHSU with a 12-0 run during the first three minutes of the first half. Iweze and Stodart scored the points with three three-pointers and a layup. BHSU came back with a 10-0 run of their own to bring the score to 12-10. After UCCS took a six-point lead, the Yellow Jackets bounced back and continued to go on another run of 16-6 to end the first half 28-25, UCCS down by three.
After the Yellow Jackets took a larger lead, UCCS came back and went on a 10-2 and took the 40-37 lead halfway through the second half. The rest of the half remained in BHSU’s favor as they took the lead again and went on a 28-16 run to secured them the victory against UCCS. UCCS and BHSU fought back and forth for the lead with five lead changes and two times the score was tied.
Martinez was the leading scorer with 17 points and finished with three rebounds and three assists. Iweze was the second highest leading scorer with 16 points and finished with six rebounds, one assist and one steal. Stodart finished as the third highest scorer with 13 points followed by 10 rebounds and three assists. McKenzie was the leader in assists, reaching four for the Mountain Lions.
As a team, UCCS reached 31 rebounds, 11 assists and two steals. The Mountain Lions scored nine points off turnovers and two points off of a fast break. They also accumulated seven points off the bench. The Mountain Lions are now 0-2 in RMAC after losing to South Dakota Mines 70-68 and now to BHSU 67-56.
The Mountain Lions have a six-day break between games giving them time to reset before competing in another set of back-to-back games. UCCS will take on Colorado Mesa on Dec. 8 and Westminster on Dec. 9 following the women’s games. Following multiple away games, UCCS will be back on their home court on Jan. 6 to play Western Colorado University.
#15 Jesse Iweze. Photo by Lillian Davis.