Men's Basketball clipped in last minute in Portland finale
By SCOTT WARD
PORTLAND, Ore. -- While the rest of the Big Sky basketball world turned its focus toward Missoula on Tuesday night, Northern Colorado and Portland State took part in a knock-down, drag-out, back-and-forth barnburner at the Stott Center.
About an hour after this year's regular-season Big Sky championship was decided in a defensive and ultimately lopsided struggle between Montana and Weber State, the Bears and Vikings took it to the wire, with Portland State coming out on top 75-74.
The teams combined for 17 lead changes and 13 ties, and Northern Colorado (9-19, 5-11 Big Sky) led 74-71 with 37 seconds to play and then had possession and the lead with 27 seconds to play after Portland State (16-13, 10-6) missed a jumper and Emmanuel Addo came down with the rebound.
The Vikings quickly fouled Bears freshman Tevin Svihovec, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one and gave Portland State life with 24 seconds to go.
It took advantage on its ensuing possession when Chehales Tapscott got the rebound on a Charles Odum miss and put it back in with 14 seconds left to make it 74-73.
The Bears then inbounded the ball after the made free throw and got it to Svihovec (a 79 percent free-throw shooter on the season), but he, again, missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Odum made his way up the court and drew a foul on a jumper from Northern Colorado's Connor Osborne.
Odum made both free throws, putting the Vikings on top 76-75, and Svihovec's desperation heave was off as the buzzer sounded—on the game and Northern Colorado's season.
Tate Unruh led the Bears in the loss with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and four of his teammates ended in double figures, including senior Mike Proctor (12 points), Addo (11), and Osborne and Svihovec (10 apiece).
Proctor also grabbed eight rebounds to finish his career with 655 rebounds, which is the fifth most in school history.
Northern Colorado led by seven two times in the first half, at 19-12 but was most impressive on the offensive end in the second half. It made 15 of its first 20 shots after halftime and finished 19 of 30 from the field after the break.
Unruh made five of six field goals in the second half, including three consecutive, and finished as the Bears leading scorer for the season at 11.3 points per game. He's the first sophomore to lead Northern Colorado in scoring since Sean Taibi did so during the 2005-06 season.
And the Bears, with a 7-for-21 performance from beyond the three-point arc Tuesday, finished with a 44.4 percent shooting mark from three this season -- the best in the nation.