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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana. Television: Big Sky TV. Home Record: Northern Colorado 5-4, Montana State 8-3. Away Record: Northern Colorado 1-11, Montana State 2-8. Neutral Record: Northern Colorado 0-0, Montana State 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Colorado 4-9, Montana State 7-6. Series Record: Montana State leads, 34-18.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Colorado Bears seek redemption and hope to snap their six-game road losing streak as the visit Worthington Arena for a Big Sky Conference matchup with the Montana State Bobcats.
MSU holds a 34-18 all-time series edge versus the Bears and a 13-6 record against Northern Colorado in Bozeman. The Bears have won four of the last six meetings in the rivalry to narrow the gap. Northern Colorado is hoping for some payback as it looks to avenge a 69-66 loss at home earlier this season to the Bobcats. In that tilt, the Bears led virtually the entire game before being overtaken in the closing minutes.
Northern Colorado lost its second game in a row and the fourth in five games on Thursday when it dropped a 73-63 decision at Montana. The setback lowered the Bears to a 6-15 overall record including its 4-9 mark in Big Sky play that has it positioned in a tie for second to last place in the standings with Eastern Washington. Tate Unruh is pacing the team with 12.3 ppg with impressive 92.3 percent shooting from the charity stripe and 43.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Northern Colorado forced 15 turnovers and outrebounded Montana by 10 on Thursday, but the Grizzlies shot 52 percent from the field and outscored the Bears, 26-20 in the paint to capture the decision. Unruh and Derrick Barden, led the team, as they both finished with 17 points. Tevin Svihovec added 11 points in the losing effort. The Bears are fourth in the Big Sky offensively with an average of 68.6 ppg, but they are seventh on the defensive end with an allowed mark of 71.2 ppg.
Montana State has had much better luck in the 2012-13 season than the visitors as it is only one game below the .500 mark after its 82-73 setback to North Dakota on Feb. 7. Although the Bobcats are tied for fourth place in the league standings with North Dakota, they are still trailing the conference leading Montana Grizzlies by six games. Christian Moon and Xavier Blount score 13.8 and 11.3 points per game, respectively, to give MSU a solid one-two punch on the offensive end.
After Montana State's loss to North Dakota, it sits in second place in the conference in scoring offense at 72.4 ppg, but it is only ninth in scoring defense with an allowed average of 72.4 ppg. Blount tallied 19 points and Moon provided 16. Blake Brumwell added 14 points as the team combined to go 8-of-20 from 3-point range. The strong showing from long distance was not enough to overcome North Dakota's 53.6 percent shooting from the field.
The Bobcats are clearly a much more capable offensive squad. The Bears narrowly lost to Montana State in the first encounter this season, but they will find it much more difficult to keep up with the Bobcats at Worthington Arena.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana State 74, Northern Colorado 63
02/09 10:38:36 ET
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