Northern Colorado (1-2) at Colorado State (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 22, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: MWC TV. Home Record: UNC 1-0, CSU 2-0. Away Record: UNC 1-1, CSU 0-2. Neutral Record: UNC 0-0, CSU 0-0. Conference Record: UNC 0-0, CSU 0-0. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 64-35.
GAME NOTES: A couple of programs from the Centennial State get together at Moby Arena tonight as the Colorado State Rams host the Northern Colorado Bears as part of the Colorado State Challenge.
The Bears were just in action two nights ago against New Mexico State as part of this event and came up short in a 67-63 final, the first setback of the season for UNC after the team posted victories against Kansas State (60-58) and Colorado Christian (98-74) earlier on.
As for the Rams, their first four outings of 2013-14 have resulted in a split after the squad suffered an 82-74 setback on the road versus UTEP on Tuesday night.
The Rams posted an 85-69 last season around this time against Northern Colorado, boosting CSU's lead in the all-time series to 64-35.
The Colorado State Challenge runs from now until Dec. 1 and will also feature involvement from Prairie View A&M, Bethune-Cookman, and New Mexico State. The Rams have won 17 straight home games against non-conference opponents.
Northern Colorado went to the line only twice in the first half and shot 3- of-9 behind the 3-point line in the period, yet trailed NMSU by just two points at the break. Unfortunately the second half saw the Bears shoot only 10-of-30 from the floor, en route to the hard-luck loss. Derrick Barden scored a team-best 19 points and also pulled down seven rebounds for the Bears, while Tevin Svihovec and Tim Huskisson came away with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Barden is shooting 53.7 percent from the floor through the first three games, leading to a team-best 16.3 ppg, followed by Tate Unruh and Huskisson with 11.0 and 10.3 ppg, respectively. More important than the offense for the Bears has been their defense, one that has limited the opposition to just 37.0 percent accuracy from the floor and a dismal 18.4 percent behind the 3-point line.
The Rams shot better from 3-point range (.381) than they did the field overall (.361) during their eight-point loss to UTEP at the Haskins Center earlier this week. Not only did CSU shoot the ball poorly, it was also beaten on the glass by a 53-36 margin despite the efforts of Daniel Bejarano who coupled his 19 points with eight rebounds. J.J. Avila also tallied 19 points, followed by Joe De Ciman and Jon Octeus with 10 points apiece.
Avila a mere 18.2 percent shooter on the perimeter, is not only the team's leading scorer after four games with 16.5 ppg, he is also tops in terms of assists with close to five per outing. Bejarano (15.8 ppg) and Octeus (13.8 ppg) also play significant roles in the team's 80.5 ppg and while the former is tops on the glass with 9.3 rpg, he also has the most 3-point baskets with seven.
As long as the Bears can keep the scoring to a minimum they'll have a chance to take down the hosts tonight, but still a lot more has to go right in order to make that happen.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 68, Colorado State 64
11/22 10:40:31 ET