Men's Basketball Heads To Pacific Northwest
Dec. 14, 2007
Weekly Game Notes: Gonzaga, Oregon State, Portland
Games #9-10-11 Northern Colorado (5-3) at #19/23 Gonzaga (8-2) Monday, Dec. 17 • Spokane, Wash. • McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) • 5:00 p.m. • FOX Sports Northwest/R.M. Northern Colorado at Oregon State (5-3) Wednesday, Dec. 19 • Corvallis, Ore. • Gill Coliseum (10,400) • 7:00 p.m. • FOX Sports Northwest/R.M. Northern Colorado at Portland (3-6) Friday, Dec. 21 • Portland, Ore. • Chiles Center (4,852) • 7:30 p.m. The Series GU OSU UP Overall Record 0-1 0-3 0-1 In Greeley 0-0 0-1 0-0 At Opponent 0-1 0-2 0-1 At Neutral Sites 0-0 0-0 0-0 Last Meeting 2004-05 2006-07 1974-75 Boyle vs 0-0 0-1 0-0 The Coaches Northern Colorado Tad Boyle (9-27, second year) Gonzaga Mark Few (219-54, ninth year) Oregon State Jay John (71-89, sixth year) Portland Eric Reveno (12-29, second year) Radio KFKA 1310 AM Troy Coverdale, play-by-play Audio Streaming KFKA 1310kfka.com Television Gonzaga FOX Sports Northwest/Rocky Mtn. Oregon State FOX Sports Northwest/Rocky Mtn. Video Streaming Portland pilotsvideo.com
Northern Colorado (5-3) at #19/23 Gonzaga (8-2)
Monday, Dec. 17 • Spokane, Wash. • McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) • 5:00 p.m. • FOX Sports Northwest/R.M.
Northern Colorado at Oregon State (5-3)
Wednesday, Dec. 19 • Corvallis, Ore. • Gill Coliseum (10,400) • 7:00 p.m. • FOX Sports Northwest/R.M.
Northern Colorado at Portland (3-6)
Friday, Dec. 21 • Portland, Ore. • Chiles Center (4,852) • 7:30 p.m.
The Series GU OSU UP
Overall Record 0-1 0-3 0-1
In Greeley 0-0 0-1 0-0
At Opponent 0-1 0-2 0-1
At Neutral Sites 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting 2004-05 2006-07 1974-75
Boyle vs 0-0 0-1 0-0
Northern Colorado Tad Boyle (9-27, second year)
Gonzaga Mark Few (219-54, ninth year)
Oregon State Jay John (71-89, sixth year)
Portland Eric Reveno (12-29, second year)
KFKA 1310 AM Troy Coverdale, play-by-play
Gonzaga FOX Sports Northwest/Rocky Mtn.
Oregon State FOX Sports Northwest/Rocky Mtn.
Northern Colorado will play a trio of games on this road trip, facing #19 Gonzaga, Oregon State and Portland all on their home floors in a five-day, three-game swing through the Northwest. Luckily for Bear fans who can't travel with the team, the first two will be televised by FOX Sports Rocky Mountain. On Monday, the Bears and Bulldogs square off at 5:00 p.m. (Pacific) and on Wednesday, the Bears meet the Beavers at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific). The third game of the trip on Friday against the Pilots at 7:30 will not be televised, but fans can still check out the action by listening to 1310 KFKA.
The Bears have not faced any of these teams often, but it's not the first series meeting for any of the three upcoming opponents. It will be the second game in the Gonzaga series, with the first meeting coming in 2004-05. The Zags were ranked 12th and defeated the Bears 87-60. NC will be looking for its first win in four meetings with Oregon State. Last season, the Beavers escaped Butler-Hancock with a 69-67 victory. The Pilots and Bears will renew acquaintances after not playing since 1974-75, an 86-81 UP victory in the lone meeting between the two squads in school history.
Smile For The Cameras
With two of the three games on this road swing being televised, it brings the number of tv appearances to six for the Bears this season. They have already had one game each on FOX Sports Rocky Mountain and Altitude Sports & Entertainment and are scheduled for two more on each station. It is the most games on national television in school history.
Every victory is more than just "another win" for the Bears' program. Since beginning reclassification to Division I in 2003-04, Northern Colorado has struggled on the hardwood, winning no more than eight games in a single season. With the five victories this year already, NC has tied the total from 2005-06 and surpassed last year's total of four wins. In 2003-04 the Bears were 6-22 and sported an 8-21 record in 2004-05. Of course, the school has faced some of the toughest competition during those seasons, playing schools from the Mountain West (9), Big XII (7), Pacific-10 (4), West Coast (3), Big Ten (3) and Big East (2) during those four years.
Twice this season, junior forward Jabril Banks has been perfect from the field when taking seven shots. In the season opener against VMI Banks posted an unblemished night, hitting all seven attempts from the field. He then repeated that performance at Denver on Saturday. He has also made seven shots from the floor three other times (Denver, Colorado State, Bowling Green State). Banks is shooting .650 from the floor (39-60) this season and has shot under 50 percent in just one contest this year.
The key to success this season seems to be playing well, or better than the opponent, in the first half. The Bears are 5-0 when taking the lead into the locker room at halftime and all three losses have come with the team trailing after the first 20 minutes. When leading at the half, the Bears are averaging 35.4 points and 19.6 rebounds per game, while shooting .474 from the field and holding opponents to 30.8 points and 15.8 rebounds with a .394 field goal percentage. When trailing at the half, the Bears are averaging 21.0 points and 16.0 rebounds while shooting just .297 from the field. The opposition is averaging 30.3 points and 14.0 rebounds while connecting on .508 of their shots.
He Figures In
Sophomore guard Will Figures made 17 three-pointers in 28 games played last season as a freshman. This year through seven games played, he has already sunk 14. Figures is one of three players averaging double figures in scoring with 11.3 per game. He makes the most of his three-point attempts as well, connecting on .636 this season, nailing 14 of his 22 tries from beyond the arc.
Since making the move to Division I, the most steals recorded in a season was 39 by Matt Kline in the first year, 2003-04. Junior guard Robert Palacios already has 20 steals through the first eight games, which puts him on pace for 73 steals this year, which would also be just 10 steals shy of breaking into the career top 10 charts at Northern Colorado.
Last year, forward Jefferson Mason played in 23 games, averaging almost 16 minutes per game and tallying just four blocked shots during those 23 contests. Already this season, through eight games, Mason has eight blocked shots, averaging 1.0 per game to double his output from his first season.
Recap of the Week
The Bears split a pair last week, defeating Bowling Green State in overtime, 64-60 before falling at Denver on Saturday, 69-53. Junior forward Jabril Banks recorded his first double-double of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds against the Falcons and hit all seven of his attempts from the field against the Pioneers for an average of 15.5 points on the week. Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason, senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos and sophomore guard Will Figures also averaged double figures in points at 12.5, 11.5 and 10.0, respectively. Banks led the team with 6.0 rebounds per game over the two, while both junior Robert Palacios and freshman forward Taylor Montgomery averaged 5.5 caroms a game.
Northern Colorado now has a +7.5 rebounding margin this season, which is the best in the Big Sky Conference this season and ranks 12th among NCAA Division I teams. The Bears are averaging 37.8 rebounds per game, while holding opponents to just 30.3 per contest. The 37.8 rebounds per game also ranks first among Big Sky Conference teams.
Last week, several Bears recorded career highs in one of the two games. Junior forward Jabril Banks notched 11 rebounds against Bowling Green State, while fellow Indian Hills Community College transfer Robert Palacios tallied his first blocked shot at Denver. The other three all showed their helping hands with redshirt freshman Neal Kingman recorded four assists and his first steal against Bowling Green, while sophomore forward Jefferson Mason had four assists against the Falcons and freshman forward Taylor Montgomery posted two at Denver.
With two more rebounds, junior forward Jabril Banks will record his 50th rebound at NC. Junior forward Robert Palacios is four caroms shy of the same mark and senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos needs two steals for 50. Senior guard Sean Taibi's next three-point attempt will be the 500th of his career.
It's All His
Senior guard Sean Taibi entered the season already holding the career three-pointers made record at Northern Colorado. With his third attempt against Denver, he took over the record for three-pointers attempted as well. Taibi's next attempt from beyond the arc will be the 500th of his career and his current amount of 499 breaks the school record of 498 by Sean Nolen (2000-05). Every three-pointer Taibi makes adds to his school record of triples made, which currently stands at 216.
Senior center Kirk Archibeque also has his name firmly entrenched in the career record books at Northern Colorado. He and senior guard Sean Taibi rank ninth and 11th in career scoring with 1,173 and 1,156 points, respectively. Archibeque also ranks seventh in career rebounds with 610 and is ninth with 53 blocked shots. He ranks 10th in field goals made with 450, seventh in free throws made with 273 and is fifth in free throws attempted with 422. Career record book is on page six.
Carom Catchers By Committee
The entire Northern Colorado roster takes rebounding seriously, as six student-athletes are averaging 4.0 or more rebounds per game. Junior forward Jabril Banks leads the way with 6.0 per game, while junior forward Robert Palacios (5.8), senior guard Sean Taibi (4.8), senior center Kirk Archibeque (4.8), freshman forward Taylor Montgomery (4.3) and sophomore forward Jefferson Mason (4.1) are all averaging better than four per game.
Leading The Way - As A Team
In the latest Big Sky Conference statistics, Northern Colorado leads the league in rebounding margin (+10.5), rebounding offense (37.8) and offensive rebounds (13.88) and is second in scoring defense (64.0), field goal percentage defense (.423), rebounding defense (30.3), steals (7.88) and defensive rebounds (23.88).
Leading The Way - Individually
In the Big Sky Conference individual statistics, junior forward Jabril Banks leads the league in field goal percentage (.650), is fifth in scoring (13.5) and seventh in rebounding (6.0). Junior forward Robert Palacios leads in steals (2.71). Sophomore guard Will Figures leads in three-point field goal percentage (.636) and free throw percentage (.895) and senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos is tied for sixth in assists (3.00).
It's An Honor
Following the action on the court during the Air Force Classic, Northern Colorado had a pair players named to the All-Tournament Team in guards sophomore Will Figures and senior Sean Taibi. Figures averaged 19.5 point per game in the tournament while Taibi chipped in 16 points per game.
The Northern Colorado men's basketball team is now eligible to compete in postseason play in 2007 after successfully making the transition to Division I. This year also marks the first year, NC is eligible to win the Big Sky Conference Championship as well as compete in the Big Sky Tournament. The timing is perfect as the Bears currently sit in second place in the Big Sky standings with a 5-3 record.
Northern Colorado was chosen seventh by the coaches and eighth by the media in the Big Sky's Preseason Poll. The Bears received 19 points in the coaches poll and 56 in the media poll. The polls were also split with Weber State taking the coaches poll and Montana being chosen as the favorite by the media.
Home Sweet Home
Northern Colorado is 235-161 (.593) all-time at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, which opened Feb. 4 1975. Last season, the Bears posted a 3-9 record at home and this season have started 4-0 this season. The contest against Montana State on January 24 will be the 400th men's basketball game in the arena.
What A Name
Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos has the longest last name (17 letters) of any player in school history. The Phoenix product of Greek ancestry pronounces his name Thanasi (TA-nah-see) Panagiotakopoulos (Pa-na-yo-toe-COE-PO-los). His given first name, however is not Thanasi but Athanassios.
The Bulldogs are currently ranked in both of the major Division I polls, sitting in 19th in the Associated Press poll and 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The Bears and Bulldogs have not played any common opponents yet this season, but Gonzaga defeated Montana 77-54 in the team's season opener.
Matt Bouldin leads a quartet in double figures in scoring with 13.3 points per game, while Austin Daye (12.2), Jeremy Pargo (11.6) and Micah Downs (10.3) are the others averaging over 10 per contest. Downs also leads the team with 5.9 rebounds per game and Pargo is getting 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game to lead the club, while Daye is blocking 2.2 shots a game.
Gonzaga is averaging 74.7 points, 39.3 rebounds, 13.7 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 5.3 blocks and 5.9 steals per game, while shooting .452 from the field, .351 from the three-point line and .718 from the free throw line while holding opponents to 61.0 points, 32.7 rebounds, 10.6 assists, 15.7 turnovers, 4.3 blocks and 6.6 steals per game with a .384 field goal, .291 three-point and .612 free throw percentages.
Scouting Oregon State
The Beavers have started the season 5-3 and fell to Colorado State 69-56 at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks on Nov. 15, a team the Bears defeated 72-59 on Dec. 1. Oregon State also hosts Tennessee Tech on Dec. 16 before facing Northern Colorado.
Seth Tarver and Marcel Jones are leading the Beavers with 15.6 and 15.0 points per game, respectively, while Jones also leads with 8.3 rebounds. Rickey Claitt leads with 29 assists through the first eight games, while Josh Tarver has 12 steals and Roelan Schaftenaar has five blocks.
Oregon State is averaging 64.8 points, 38.9 rebounds, 12.6 assists, 13.9 turnovers, 2.6 blocks and 5.5 steals per game, while shooting .405 from the field, .333 from beyond the arc and .649 from the charity stripe. Opponents are averaging 57.2 points, 34.6 rebounds, 11.0 assists, 15.4 turnovers, 5.5 steals and 2.3 blocks per game while shooting .408 from the floor, .307 from the arc and .560 from the free throw line.
The Pilots enter the contest against the Bears with a record of 3-6 and play Saturday at Washington and Monday at Eastern Washington before hosting Northern Colorado. The two teams have yet to play any common opponents, however the Pilots lost to San Diego State (78-64), defeated Idaho State (76-52), lost to Oregon State (67-57) and beat Montana (58-57) which the Bears all play later in the year.
Nik Raivio leads the team with 11.2 points per game, while Sherrard Watson (11.1) and Robin Smeulders (10.2) are both averaging double figures. Luke Sikma leads with 10.0 rebounds per game, 28 assists, 14 blocked shots and 15 steals.
Portland is averaging 64.9 points, 36.9 rebounds, 12.9 assists, 16.2 turnovers, 2.2 blocks and 4.6 steals per game, while shooting .432 from the field, .339 from the three-point line and .694 from the free throw line. The opposition is averaging 70.2 points, 32.1 rebounds, 15.0 assists, 11.9 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 3.3 blocks per game while hitting on .432 from the floor, .400 from the three-point line and .691 from the charity stripe.
On The Forefront
The Bears return home to open Big Sky Conference play against Sacramento State on Dec. 28 and will close out the calendar year at Northern Arizona on Dec. 30 in a game televised by Altitude Sports at 2:00 p.m.