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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 2, 10:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: Northern Colorado 7-5, Portland State 8-5. Away Record: Northern Colorado 3-12, Portland State 0-12. Neutral Record: Northern Colorado 0-0, Portland State 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Colorado 8-10, Portland State 5-12. Series Record: Portland State leads, 13-4.
GAMES NOTES: With their spot in the Big Sky Tournament still hanging in the balance the Northern Colorado Bears will visit the Portland State Vikings at the Stott Center on Saturday night.
Northern Colorado earned an important 88-80 victory over Eastern Washington Thursday which has it seated in the seventh slot in the league standings. That is important since only seven teams make the Big Sky Conference Tournament. The Bears are 10-17 overall but have been closer to the .500 mark in league action (8-10).
Portland State had won three straight games before a 74-66 setback against North Dakota on Thursday. The Vikings are 5-12 in conference play and need a ton of work to complete an improbable run into the last spot in the Big Sky Tournament. A win against Northern Colorado would be a start for the Vikings, who are ending a five-game homestand in this contest.
When these teams met earlier in the season, Northern Colorado rolled to a 67-50 victory behind 19 points from Tate Unruh. The win was the fourth in the last six meetings and the fourth all-time for the Bears against Portland State. The Vikings lead the all-time series, 13-4.
Derrick Barden hung up a double-double (28 points, 10 rebounds) and Tate Unruh dropped in 21 points to lead Northern Colorado to an 88-80 win over Eastern Washington on Thursday. The Bears had a 24-14 edge in points off turnovers in the game, while forcing 22 miscues for the Eagles.
Barden (13.3 ppg, 9.1 rpg) is one of the best frontcourt performers in the Big Sky with his ability to score efficiently and attack the glass. The 6-foot-5 forward is second in the Big Sky in rebounding and finishes off 54.3 percent of his shots from the floor. Unruh (13.6 ppg) is a reliable scorer in the backcourt as he puts in 46.1 percent of his shots from the field. Tevin Svihovec (12.1 ppg, 3.3 apg) is another solid option in the backcourt as he also nets 46.1 percent from the field. The trio has carried the Bears who are a solid offensive team, scoring 70.7 points per game on 46.2 percent shooting. However, the Bears give up 71.2 points per game on 45.4 percent shooting on the defensive end.
In its 74-66 loss to North Dakota, Portland State shot an even 40 percent from the floor and knocked down just three shots from beyond the arc. The Vikings coughed the ball up 18 times and were outscored 18-8 in points off takeaways in the losing effort.
Four different players are scoring in double figures for the Vikings led by Aaron Moore (13.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg). The 6-foot-8 forward is also the leading rebounder on the team and is currently on a season-long streak of 11 games in double figures, while positing three of his seven double-doubles in the last six games. Renado Parker (11.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is another solid scorer and rebounder, while Michael Harthun (11.0 ppg) and Lateef McMullan (10.2 ppg, 3.7 apg) hold it down in the backcourt. Portland State has also struggled defensively, allowing 72 points per game, while teams shoot at a 48-percent clip from the floor. As a team the Vikings are shooting at a 45.6-percent rate and scoring just under 70 points per game.
The Bears' win over Eastern Washington was just their third on the road this season. Even though Portland State isn't a dominant team on its home floor (8-5) it has enough of an edge at the Stott Center to grab a win.
Sports NEtwork Predicted Outcome: Portland State 69, Northern Colorado 66
03/02 10:34:40 ET
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