Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

White, UCCS fall short; bids to D-II tourney come out Sunday night

by brent w. new sports@gazette.com - Published: March 8, 2014 0

DENVER - The sight of UCCS sophomore Derrick White with his head well above the rim won't be missed around the Denver-Metro area anytime soon.

Mainly because, when the ball was in his hand, he never seemed to miss on Saturday night.

Even with a slender 6-foot-5 frame, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference player of the month threw his body around like a rag doll against top-ranked Metro State - only to get back up and score some more.

By the end of RMAC Shootout Championship, however, not White's 33 points, nor his nine rebounds, nor his 18-for-18 performance from the free-throw line could quash the top-ranked team in Division II, Metro State (28-1).

Instead, Nicholas Kay scored 16 of his 22 in the second half, and the Roadrunners held off one Mountain Lions (21-8) rally after another to win 77-71 at the Auraria Event Center.

"I'm so proud of how these guys battled today, and how they've battled throughout the season," Colorado-Colorado Springs coach Jeff Culver said. "We wanted to keep it close at the end like we have in a lot of our games late, and then pull ahead. But give credit to Metro State though, they made a couple more plays than we did."

UCCS won two RMAC postseason games to get to the finals - the first two in program's 26-year existence - one in a thriller against Adams State and the other in an unbelievable comeback against ninth-ranked Colorado School of Mines.

But there is a reason Metro State touts a 44-0 lifetime record against UCCS.

Unlike the Mountain Lions' previous two opponents, the Roadrunners showed the poise of a team destined to return to the D-II Championship Game and stayed the course despite one run after another from White & Co.

In the final 8:10 of the second half, UCCS shrunk a nine-point lead to three and a 10-point lead to four but never got over the hump.

"The score shows we've been close to them the past two times," said White, whose team cut a 17-point deficit into an 83-77 loss against Metro a week ago. "But obviously we're not there. I have a lot of work to do - and we have a lot of work to do to get there."

Now, for the next 24 hours or so, the Mountain Lions can only stew awaiting a "Yes" or "No" by the NCAA selection committee, who will decide if UCCS' body of work is good enough to be awarded a spot in the Divivion II Tournament.

If Culver's opinion means anything, he says "Yes."

"I think our team deserves it," said Culver, whose team won 12 of its last 14 games. "I think we've had a heck of a season."

The selection show starts at 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The show will be on ncaa.com and 64 teams will be selected.

The Mountain Lions' Alex Welsh and White were named to all-RMAC Shootout team.

White had 13 points and seven rebounds in the title game.

Comment Policy
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
AUG
1
AUG
2
AUG
3
AUG
4
AUG
5
AUG
6
AUG
7
AUG
8
AUG
9
AUG
10
AUG
11
AUG
12
AUG
13
AUG
14
Advertisement