Jan. 26 vs Chadron State
The men’s basketball team took on Chadron State College at home last Friday. Unphased by the support from UCCS fans, the Eagles stole the win 93-86 despite resurgent efforts from Jeff Culver’s side.
The game tipped off with the Mountain Lions going on a 7-0 run, which junior guard Hannes Saar contributed to with a pair of layups. However, the Chadron State Eagles replied with an 11-2 run over the next three minutes of play.
The game briefly turned back in favor of the Mountain Lions thanks to a mid-range jump shot from freshman point guard Xavier Martinez. Despite this, the Eagles took the first half with a comfortable eleven-point lead, 42-31.
The Mountain Lions played the second half with the same intent as they began the first and secured a 15-8 run by UCCS. CSC’s lead significantly narrowed to just four points at the start of the half.
Mirroring the first half, the Eagles did not struggle to respond to the Mountain Lions offense, expanding their lead back to eleven points, 68-57, with less than ten minutes to go.
Four points by redshirt freshman guard Shareef Jaudon and Saar helped to narrow the deficit down to seven points before a surge from CSC propelled them to a comfortable fifteen points ahead of the Mountain Lions over the next few minutes.
The Eagles managed to maintain this lead as they ran down the clock and finished the game 93-86.
Martinez said that the team put in a lot of effort despite their loss.
“I thought we played tough, but they just shot the ball better than us that night and their pace of play tired us down with so many players out,tota” Martinez said. “A few plays down the stretch that could have gone either way benefitted them,”
UCCS considerably outscored CSC in points off turnovers, 25-17. Both teams also shared the same points in the paint with 52 each.
Martinez totaled the highest points of the evening with 27. The freshman also collected a team-high six assists.
Jan. 27 vs Colorado Christian
The Mountain Lions cruised to a comfortable victory in the Gallogly Events Center thanks to a dominant second half performance. The home game took place on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m.
The Mountain Lions began the game with a 9-5 run fuelled by a three-pointer by redshirt senior guard David Jabedo.
The Cougars responded by narrowing the gap to one point as the first half progressed.
However, the Mountain Lions remained undeterred as they continued the half with the same level of energy they started with. Freshman point guard Xavier Martinez and redshirt freshman guard Shareef Jaudon hit three threes between them, allowing the Mountain Lions to run away with an eleven-point lead with less than ten minutes left in the half.
Redshirt junior point guard Noah Baca ended with half with a basket for UCCS, increasing the lead for the Mountain Lions at 33-26.
A surge of energy from junior guard Hannes Saar in the first three minutes of the game kickstarted the second half as CCU claimed seven of the Mountain Lion’s next eleven points.
Despite this initial dominance, efforts from the Cougars to chase down the Mountain Lions continued during the next ten minutes.
This narrowed UCCS’ lead to just three points, making the last five minutes of the game suspenseful.
However, the Mountain Lions would replenish their lead by ten points with just over three minutes left. This lead was maintained UCCS, and the game finished in favor of the Mountain Lions, 81-69.
Martinez commented on the impact of his teammates after the game, acknowledging some of them for their effort.
“We had a lot of guys step up and play bigger roles and getting [Baca] back was a huge relief.”
“Against CCU we shot the ball way better and were able to execute on offense throughout the game. Also, we kept our composure when things got chippy and team rebounding helped us secure the win,” he said.
The Mountain Lions have cemented their first win against CCU in over a year. UCCS’ overall season record now stands at 10-10 while their record in the RMAC is 6-8 after this weekend’s events.
The Mountain Lions hits the road this week as they travel to Las Vegas, N.M. to take on New Mexico Highlands this on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m.
#2 Xavier Martinez shoots against Chadron State University on Jan. 26. Photo by Lillian Davis.