The UCCS men’s basketball team kicked off the weekend with a big win against the Western Mountaineers on Feb. 4 followed by a loss against the Fort Lewis Skyhawks on Feb. 5. UCCS went to 15-7 and 10-6 in the RMAC after beating Western 78-62 and losing to Fort Lewis 79-90.
Western Colorado University vs. UCCS
Freshman guard Jezza McKenzie scored the first points of the game trailing 2-4 behind the Mountaineers, but sophomore guard Alijah Comithier broke the slow streak at four points with a dunk to put the score at 6-11. UCCS trailed Western until halfway through the first half when redshirt junior forward Cameron Underwood scored a jumper to take the lead, 24-23.
Although Western cut the lead to as low as two points in the second half, the Mountain Lions went on a 21-5 run to take a 20-point lead, their largest of the game. The Mountaineers couldn’t rally back and UCCS was victorious in their first game 78-62.
Comithier ended the game against Western with 15 points, seven rebounds and two steals, leading the team in points scored. Junior guard Jon’il Fugett scored 12 points against the Mountaineers along with two steals for the Mountain Lions.
McKenzie led the Mountain Lions with eight defensive rebounds and was the fourth highest scorer of the night. Redshirt senior guard Parker Gaddis ended with three assists and 11 points for the Mountain Lions. Redshirt senior forward Geoff Kelly finished the game with four fouls, having three in the second half and subbing out for the remainder of the game with five minutes left.
Fort Lewis College vs. UCCS
The Mountain Lions got off to a slower start against the Fort Lewis Skyhawks trailing 0-3 until redshirt sophomore forward William Becker tied the game 3-3 with the first three pointer for the Mountain Lions off an assist by Comithier.
Fugett played tough perimeter defense making it hard for the Skyhawks to score, but Fort Lewis pushed back with their strong defense forcing the Mountain Lions to put up quick shots. About four minutes in, both teams were at a standstill, struggling to get their shots to fall.
With the Mountain Lions falling behind during the first half of the game, Fort Lewis came out stronger in the second half, pushing the gap further in their favor. The Skyhawks took an 18-point lead with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game.
The Mountain Lions couldn’t find an answer to Fort Lewis’s offensive performance and dropped their first game of the week, 90-79.
Fugett led the team with 18 points, four steals and four assists. Becker led with seven rebounds, having four on the offensive side of the ball and three on defense. McKenzie was the second-highest scorer with 14 points and finished with four rebounds. Overall, UCCS ended with 13 assists and 35 rebounds, outnumbering Fort Lewis.
UCCS takes on Black Hills State next on Feb. 11 followed by Chadron State on Feb. 12. The Mountain Lions will play both games at home starting at 7:30 p.m. in Gallogly Events Center. Black Hills State currently resides at 15-5 and Chadron State sits at 8-13.
There are only six games left for UCCS until the RMAC tournament quarterfinals, which will begin on March 1. RMAC semifinals will take place on March 4 and the RMAC Championship will follow the semifinals on March 5.