January 1, 2006
With the 82-47 loss, Northern Colorado falls to 1-15 on the season, while Northwestern improves to 7-4.
The game was the 16th of the season for the Bears, the most of any Division I team in the country.
The meeting was the first in the all-time series with Northwestern and the second all-time against a team from the Big Ten Conference (Purdue in 1978 was the other).
The New Year's Day matchup marked the first-time the Bears have ever played on January 1. The game was one of four Division I games to be played today.
The game tipped off at 1 p.m. central time, the fourth time this season the Bears have played an afternoon game (Oral Roberts, Northern Arizona and Eastern Michigan were the others).
For the second consecutive game, Northern Colorado used a starting lineup of Matt Kline, Sean Taibi, Dwayne Birden, Erik Olson and Kirk Archibeque. UNC has used eight different starting lineups this season.
Northern Colorado scored the game's first bucket on a fade-away jumper by Kline that just beat the shot clock buzzer. But Northwestern then used a 9-2 run over the next 2:10 and never trailed again in the half. UNC closed to within 12-6 on a bucket by Dorian McDaniel, but a 6-0 Wildcat run pushed the lead to double digits.
A 3-pointer by Olson at 6:27 made the score 31-17, but Northwestern then used a 16-4 run to end the first half. UNC got only buckets by Taibi and Birden over the final six minutes of the half.
Northern Colorado committed its 10th turnover of the game at the 2:21 mark of the first half; the 10 turnovers equaled the amount they had for the entire game last time out against Eastern Michigan. The Bears had 12 total miscues in the first half, which NU turned into 14 points.
Northwestern led 47-21 at halftime. The 47 points were the highest total scored by a Bears opponent in the first half this season and the third highest amount scored in any half against UNC this year (Northern Arizona scored 49 in the second half on Dec. 3 in Greeley).
Olson led the Bears with seven points at the break while Vedran Vukusic had 17 in the first half for the Wildcats. Northwestern shot 18-of-25 (72%) in the first half, while the Bears shot 9-of-22 (40.9%). The Wildcats hit 5-of-10 from 3-point range while UNC struggled, managing only 1-of-9 (11.1%).
Northwestern scored eight of the first 10 points in the second half to grab a 32-point lead at 55-23. A 9-2 spurt later in the half made the score 64-27 in favor of the home team. They would lead by as many as 43 points (74-31) with 9:22 to play in the game. Northern Colorado did outscore Northwestern 16-8 to close out the game.
The 47 points was a season-low, one less than the Bears scored at Air Force on Dec. 8. It was the fewest points since scoring 44 at Oklahoma (Dec. 11, 2004) last season.
The 35-point loss was the worst of the season for the Bears, surpassing a 25-point defeat at Air Force earlier this season. The loss was the worst since losing by 36 at Oklahoma on Dec. 11, 2004.
Kline dished out 10 assists, the second time this season he has hit double figure helpers. He is averaging 8.7 assists/game in his last three outings, after having seven at Kansas and nine vs. Eastern Michigan. He now has 215 career assists, which moved him into 10th place on the Bears career list, passing Marvin Jones (209 assists from 1994-97).
Olson played in his 98th career game, which is 10th most in school history.
Taibi, like the rest of the team, struggled from long range, hitting 1-of-6 from 3-point range. He did extend his streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer in every game this season and he now has 39 3-pointers this season, 12th most nationally.
Chris Gebhardt, who joined the team at the Christmas break, saw his first action of the season and first action since playing during the 2002-03 season. He spent the last two seasons with the Northern Colorado football team, playing defensive back.
The Bears were without the services of Michael Gordy and Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos, who sat out with injures. Gordy missed his sixth straight game, Panagiotakopoulos missed his second straight.
The Bears continue their road trip with a Tuesday night meeting at Nebraska (9-3). The game begins at 6 p.m. MT and can be heard on a delayed basis (7 p.m. MT) on the Bears Radio Network.
Northwestern Post Game Notes
Jan. 1, 2006