Northern Colorado (13-4) at Portland State (9-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 30, 10:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peter W. Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: UNC 11-0, PSU 8-3. Away Record: UNC 2-4, PSU 1-5. Neutral Record: UNC 0-0, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: UNC 7-1, PSU 4-4. Series Record: Portland State leads, 13-5.
GAME NOTES: One of the top teams in the Big Sky Conference is up for another test tonight, as the Northern Colorado Bears clash with the Portland State Vikings at the Stott Center.
Tied with Weber State for the lead in the Big Sky entering the week, the Bears have lost just once in eight league bouts, bowing to Montana State earlier this month by a score of 70-55 on the road. However, since that setback UNC has rattled off three straight victories, the latest being a 72-62 triumph over Sacramento State last weekend.
The Bears have yet to be defeated at home this season (11-0), but on the road the squad has won just twice in six chances.
Stuck in the middle of the pack in the Big Sky, Portland State is tied with both Idaho State and Montana State for fifth place after splitting the first eight league decisions. However, the team has been playing much better of late, winning two straight and four of the last five outings, thanks in part to a 92-83 victory against Eastern Washington on Monday night at home.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools, the Vikings are ahead by a count of 13-5. PSU has taken all but two of the nine meetings played in Portland previously.
Derrick Barden registered a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, as the Northern Colorado Bears posted the double-digit win over the Sacramento State Hornets at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Tim Huskisson accounted for a team-best 18 points and Jordan Wilson 11 for the Bears, as they picked up their seventh win in the last eight outings. UNC produced a convincing 37-20 advantage in the rebounding department, and also outscored the Hornets by a huge 26-10 margin at the free-throw line as well.
Barden is the only player on the team to have started every game thus far, which is all the more reason why he should be leading the Bears in both scoring (13.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). While he is shooting an impressive 57.6 percent from the field overall, his mere 59.3 percent effort at the free-throw line continues to be an issue. Tate Unruh (12.4 ppg) and Huskisson (12.0 ppg) are also major contributors to a team outscoring the competition by 9.9 ppg at the moment.
Down by double digits at the break against visiting Eastern Washington three nights ago, the Vikings rebounded with a staggering 65.5 percent shooting from the floor and 20-of-23 at the free-throw line in the second half in order to pull out the nine-point home win. Andre Winston tallied 23 points, six rebounds and six assists, followed by DaShaun Wiggins with 21 points and five dishes off the bench. Tim Douglas dropped in 17 points for the Vikings, while Kyle Richardson and Gary Winston tacked on 12 points apiece in the scoring burst.
The 92 points by PSU were the most against another Division I program this season, and was a big turn-around from just nine days earlier when the Vikings were limited to 56 by Northern Arizona in a 21-point loss. Of the three active double-digit scorers for Portland State, Douglas is at the top of the list with his 14.4 ppg, adding a team-best 62 assists as well, but that still doesn't compensate fully for his 38.4 percent accuracy from the floor.
When the offense for the Vikings is kicked into gear it almost seems as through the program can play with anyone, but for the time being that notion should be suspended given how much success UNC has enjoyed in conference play to this point.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 86, Portland State 77
01/30 10:33:10 ET