Men’s basketball post-season recap: Coach Culver reflects on season’s injuries and wins

The UCCS men’s basketball program finished the season with an overall record of 12-16. This includes an 8-14 record within the RMAC conference. The Mountain Lions kept a home record of 7-6 and an away record of 3-10, and were not able to qualify for the NCAA tournament. 

Head coach Jeff Culver said that this season was one full of overcoming setbacks and disappointments. 

“Unfortunately, we were not able to achieve all of our on-court goals this season due to a great deal of injuries that we sustained up and down our roster. We did, however, compete throughout and ended up with a number of key victories,” Culver said. “Our guys also did an outstanding job in the classroom and represented our program and university with community service projects through the year.”  

One of these community service projects included volunteering at Chinook Middle School on the National Day of Play in February.  

Coach Culver said the injuries the team sustained throughout the season affected the consistency of the team’s practices and gameplay.  

“We had a significant amount of injuries throughout the season. This made it very difficult to maintain any kind of consistency with practices, rotations and lineups,” Culver said.  

Key players, like redshirt junior point guard Noah Baca, were out for a large part of the season and had to make their debuts over halfway through.  

Other injured players are still recovering. These include junior guard Jezza McKenzie as well as redshirt senior forward William Becker.  

Despite these setbacks during the season, Culver acknowledged that the Mountain Lions still managed to put on some great displays throughout the season. 

“We were able to beat Fort Lewis when they were ranked #9 in the nation. This was our program’s first win against a ranked opponent since 2015,” Culver said.  

The Mountain Lions beat the Fort Lewis Skyhawks 79-70 at the Gallogly Events Center in January. Culver says that this resilience to win against a nationally ranked team is what kept the program competing even with an injury-riddled squad. 

“The best part of the season, in my opinion, was the persistence and grit that the student-athletes showed to get through a very difficult season. I am very proud for those that pushed through and were able to persevere,” Culver said. 

 “Life is not always easy. Those that are able to push through obstacles will benefit in the long run. We are very excited about the twelve-returning student-athletes that we have for next year, along with a great group of incoming recruits.” Culver said. 

Coaching staff on the sidelines during a February game. Photo by Lillian Davis.