Men’s basketball ready to move into conference play

Dec. 7, 2015

Halle Thornton
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The men’s basketball team saw a tough start to the season, with two defeats to begin the year. But after three wins in their next five games, the Mountain Lions are back to 3-4 overall entering play Dec. 5.

The team is gaining trust and getting comfortable with each other, said head coach Jeff Culver.

“The team is a work in progress,” Culver said when explaining the current record. “The players are slowly but surely trusting each other.”

“I get along with all of the new guys really well and they will be a big key to our success this year,” said senior guard Kendall Godley. “Everyone gets along well but we are still working on knowing each other on the court.”

With seven of the 16 players on the roster returning from last year, adjusting to the new plays and expectations of each player is the name of the game at this point in the season, Culver said.

“The main reason I think we lost most of our games is a lack of experience,” said Godley. “We have a couple of returners but I believe everyone on our team is having to deal with being in a different role than last year.”

Of the four defeats, three came against nationally ranked opponents: Western Washington, Minnesota State- Moorhead, and Tarleton State, the team UCCS lost to in the national tournament last year.

Five of the first seven games for the Mountain Lions were away from home.

“Being on the road was a great experience,” said Culver, who believes away games are an opportunity for the team to bond and get to know one another on and off the court.

Godley believes the tough nonconference schedule will help the team transition to the conference games.

“I think we had a productive nonconference schedule,” Godley said. “We played some great competition and made strides toward our end-of-season goals.”

Culver thinks his team is prepared for the upcoming conference games, which begin Dec. 5 against Metro State.

“We are confident and ready,” he said.

The Mountain Lions are next at home Dec. 18 and 19, the start of six of the next eight games for UCCS that will be at the Gallogly Events Center.

“Home games are going to be good practice,” Culver explained. “We are just going to take advantage of the home games and the practices.”

Regis comes to town on Dec. 18, while UCCS faces Chadron State on Dec. 19. Both games tip-off at 7:30 p.m.