Men’s basketball season ends in RMAC quarterfinals

Mar. 14, 2016

Halle Thornton
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The men’s basketball season ended on March 1 against Metro State, as the Mountain Lions (17-13, 14-8 RMAC) fell 82-77 in the RMAC Shootout quarterfinals.

Leaders this season included Dalton Patten, who reached the 1,000-point plateau, and Alex Welsh, who set school records for career scoring and rebounding.

Welsh also earned his second straight selection to the All-RMAC first team. Patten earned a spot on the All-RMAC second team and Kendall Godley received an honorable mention.

These three seniors were a part of the most successful four years in program history, which included the first two trips to the NCAA tournament for the program and the first RMAC championship.

Patten, a communication major, said that this season ended due to a combination of being a young team with six freshmen and not being able to fix their turnover problem.

The team was worst in the RMAC for turnovers this season, committing 15.5 per game.

Patten added that, on occasion, the team played down to their competition.

“We didn’t control our own destiny down the stretch as far as coherence, regional rankings and where we wanted to be as a team,” Patten said.

Head coach Jeff Culver said another issue for the team was free throws. UCCS shot 70 percent from the line this year, 13th out of 16 teams in the RMAC.

Despite this, the team finished in the top 15 in the nation in field goal percentage (50 percent) and rebounding margin (+7).

Culver said he was happy with the last game of the regular season, when UCCS beat Metro State 94-92 in Gallogly Events Center on Feb. 26.

But he was disappointed his team couldn’t defeat Metro for the second time in the RMAC quarterfinal.

“I was not pleased we couldn’t get over the hump and win,” Culver said.

Culver said that with six freshmen in the starting rotation this season, they earned valuable experience and set the stage for the next few years of UCCS basketball.

“Our young group of returners is very dedicated to working hard in the offseason to get the program back to the national level next season,” he said.