Men's Basketball Opens the 2007 Season With A 104-97 Victory Over VMI
Nov. 9, 2007
USAFA, Colo.- Northern Colorado's men's basketball team (1-0), behind 22 points and seven rebounds from senior guard Sean Taibi, opened the 2007 with a 104-97 victory over VMI (0-1) in the first game of the Air Force Classic on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Clune Arena. The 100 points scored by the Bears was the 69th time for the program and the first time since Feb. 14, 2005 when NC defeated Colorado-Colorado Springs. NC shot an astounding 68 percent from the floor (34-for-50) in the game including 5-for-11 from beyond the three-point line. The opening day win was the first for the Bears since the 2000 season when they defeated St. Martin.
Taibi was 8-for-13 from the floor and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in scoring his team-high 22 points. The senior also totaled seven rebounds and three assists. Junior transfer Jabril Banks had a strong start to his NC career with 21 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Banks was 7-for-7 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Sophomore Will Figures scored 20 points, including 14 in the first half off the bench. Figures did most of his damage from the free throw stripe and was 10-for-11. Sophomore Jefferson Mason had 14 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting night from the field. Junior college transfer Robert Palacios had a nice debut for NC with 13 points, four rebounds and three steals.
VMI received a game-high 27 points from Chavis Holmes. Reggie Williams, the nation's leading scorer a year ago, tallied 22 points and four assists. Christian Hunter chipped in 14 points off the bench. Willie Bell nearly had a double-double with eight points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Bears shot well in the first half going 15-for-24 on their way to 52 points. NC's lead reached as high as 10 before the Keydets closed to within three at the half, 52-49. Figures led the Northern Colorado attack with 14 points.
NC played even stronger in the second half shooting an amazing 19-for-26 (73.1 percent) on their way to 52 more points in the second stanza. The Bears lead reached 12 on made free throw from Figures at 101-89 before the final margin of 104-97. Mason scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Bears.
Northern Colorado will now play against either Dartmouth or Air Force in the championship game of the Air Force Classic on Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.
Notes: The Bears have now scored 100 or more points 69 times in the school's history but only 14 times since 1990 ... the 97 points given up by NC was the most since Feb. 17, 2004 when the team gave up 110 to Rutgers ... this was the first time Northern Colorado has played and defeated a team from the Big South Conference ... the 104 points scored on opening day was the second-most scored in the program's history only behind 106 points scored by NC against Palm Beach Atlantic in 1999 ... NC is now 45-59 all-time in the first game of the season and 8-10 in the last 18 opening games.