January 9, 2013

Big Sky home-opener on the docket for Men's Basketball

Game 13: Montana State (Greeley, Colo.)
Northern Colorado notes | Big Sky notes

GAME INFORMATION:

Game 13: After a tough four-game road trip, the Bears finally get to come home for their Big Sky home-opener vs. Montana State.
When: 7:05 p.m. (MT) Thursday, Jan. 10.
Where: Greeley, Colo. -- Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,992).
Live stats:
uncbears.com
TV: Altitude Sports and Entertainment
Radio:
KFKA-AM 1310 (Troy Coverdale)
All-time series: Northern Colorado is 18-33 all-time against the Bobcats and 12-20 against them in Greeley.

A LOOK AHEAD:

  • At 7:05 p.m. (MT) Thursday, Jan. 10, Northern Colorado will take on Montana State in its Big Sky home-opener. The game will mark the first home game for the Bears in the last five games, as they opened up conference play with four straight on the road. Thursday's game will also be broadcasted on Altitude Sports and Entertainment and will be the first televised home game of the season for the Bears.
  • Montana State comes into Thursday's contest tied for fourth in the Big Sky with a 2-2 conference mark and a 5-7 overall record. The Bobcats are riding a three-game winning streak and are coming off a weekend in which they defeated both Portland State and Eastern Washington at home. The 'Cats are 0-2 in Big Sky road games this season.
  • The Bears and 'Cats have a rivalry that dates back to the 1923-24 season, with the Bears going to Bozeman and defeating Montana State 19-13 in the series' first matchup. Montana State holds the advantage in the all-time series though, with a 33-18 edge. The Bears are 12-20 all-time vs. the 'Cats in Greeley and 7-5 in Big Sky contests.
  • Last year, the two teams split their two matchups with both teams holding serve at home. In Greeley last year, the two teams were involved in a thrilling overtime game that the Bears eventually won 77-64 thanks to a strong overtime effort.
  • The Bobcats are led by the only two seniors on the roster: guards Christian Moon (13.3 ppg) and Xavier Blount (12.3 ppg). In conference games though, junior forward Flavien Davis has blossomed and is averaging 13.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg.

NORTHERN COLORADO NOTEWORTHY:

  • Northern Colorado will play its first Big Sky game at home this season against Montana State. Last season, the Bears finished 3-5 at home in conference play and 2-6 on the road.
  • One of the best ways to determine whether or not the Bears are in good shape to take home a victory during B.J. Hill's head coaching tenure is to take a look at the assist numbers. In Hill's three seasons at the helm of the Northern Colorado program, the Bears have gone 16-3 when racking up more assists than their opponents. This season, the Bears are 3-0 in such instances.
  • As with most teams in college basketball, Northern Colorado feels more comfortable when playing on its home court inside Butler-Hancock. This season, the Bears are 2-1 in home games and are averaging 92.3 ppg as a team, more than 30 points per game more than on the road. In correlation with the increase in points, the Bears also shoot more than 13 percent better from the floor while at home than on the road.
  • Junior forward Derrick Barden Jr. is tied for third in the Big Sky in rebounding (7.3 rpg). On the defensive glass, he grabs almost 22 percent of all opponent misses while on the court and his 5.8 defensive rebounds per game is tied for second in the conference. In Big Sky play, he's grabbing a conference-leading 7.5 defensive rebounds per game.
  • Redshirt junior Tate Unruh moved into a tie for fifth place on Northern Colorado's Division I career three-point list after making four more 3-pointers against Idaho State. He now sits in a tie with Elliott Lloyd (2008-12) with 104 career made threes. He needs just 15 more to pass Neal Kingman (2006-11) for fourth on the list.