UCCS Excited For Big Stage Of Downtown Classic

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Crews earlier this week spent hours transforming one of the Springs most historic buildings into an arena for college basketball.

The city auditorium is where the uccs mountain lions want to lay the foundation for the future of their basketball programs.

"I think basketball is only looking up. I think if you look at the men's team and the women's team we are in the same spot. So there is going to be a lot to cheer about. Get to know current players who are here and watch them grow." said UCCS women's basketball coach Corey Laster.

UCCS will battle CSU-Pueblo in men's and women's basketball Saturday night in the Inaugural Downtown Classic.

The money collected at the game will be donated to help make improvemenrs to the city auditorium. This is an important way the school wants to connect with the community.

"That's another reason why I chose UCCS." said Sophomore Guard Shannon Kelly. "So I could be closer to home and where I grew up and where my family is. Hopefully I can help change my community.It is such a wonderful opportunity for us to come down here and play and help make a difference for this place"

They won't be playing on your average basketball court. It won't be hardwood, but a playing surface called a sport court.

Coaches and players say the lighting and backdrops of the auditorium will take some getting used to.

UCCS men's basketball coach Jeff Culver explained, "You get a little bit of reps on it, but once they blow that whistle and tip the ball up it's basketball. So we've got 94 feet and got 10 foot rims so I think we'll be alright."

Practicing hard at the new venue this week, the Mountain Lions plan on playing well and creating an electric atmosphere.

"I'd like to see the community come out and support us." said Redshirt Sophomore Guard Alex Koehler. "And also support Pueblo because they are a good team. And like I said just hopefully get the win and play our hearts out that's all we can ask for."

"If we can get some loyal fans out there it would just make it even better." Lauren Wolfinger UCCS Senior Guard said. "We work hard and we just want everyone to know how hard we work."

Beating their rivals from Pueblo is the mission this weekend, but even more important to UCCS is winning the hearts of sports fans across the city.