At least one team kept its cool.
As Saturdays contest got progressively chippier, the Fort Lewis College mens basketball team kept its composure, while UC-Colorado Springs began to self-destruct in what was a tight game into the second half.
Four Matt Billups free throws after two technicals resulted in UCCS coach Russ Catons ejection helped cap an 18-3 run that turned a back-and-forth affair into a laugher, and Fort Lewis won a 73-55 decision at Whalen Gymnasium.
Hard fouls and jawing between players had become par for the course Saturday when Caton tired of the officiating.
Officials waved in UCCSs Damar Hill from the scorers table with 7:05 remaining, but Hill didnt take the floor, instead conversing with Caton. When Hill finally tried to check in before Rob Howes free throw attempts, officials turned him away, and Caton picked up his first technical.
After Billups hit the foul shots, Caton began to walk off the court, saying something to the official and summarily receiving his second technical and ejection.
FLC (17-5, 13-5 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) used the free throws to push the lead to 57-39, and Kyle Behrens (13 points, 12 rebounds) layup soon after capped the run, which expanded what had been a 41-36 lead to a near-insurmountable 20-point advantage.
Those technicals got us going, I think, FLC forward Connor Drumm said. We kind of gapped them there, got some easy points off those, and it kind of got us going mentally, physically, like, lets pick it up, you know?
Drumm, who scored nine points off the bench, was in the thick of the chippiest play of the evening. After the pair dove for a loose ball, the Mountain Lions Tanner Adams took a swing at Drumm, earning a flagrant foul and instant ejection with 8:06 left to play in the first half. Drumm hit both free throws to put FLC in front 13-12.
I always seem to get under peoples skin; I dont know how, Drumm said.
From what I understand ... Connor professes innocence of saying anything, so I dont know what happened, FLC head coach Bob Hofman said with a grin.
Hofman offered up a possible explanation for the increased physicality, which resulted in several players exchanging heated words upon leaving the floor after the game.
They had Adams State (Friday night), who we know is extremely physical, Hofman said. And I believe their theme (Saturday) was, Were not going to get outphysicaled.