Northern Colorado (10-4) at Montana (7-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,321) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: Altitude. Home Record: Northern Colorado 9-0, Montana 5-2. Away Record: Northern Colorado 1-4, Montana 2-5. Neutral Record: Northern Colorado 0-0, Montana 0-0. Conference Record: Northern Colorado 4-1, Montana 2-3. Series Record: Montana leads, 16-6.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Colorado Bears had a four-game win streak snapped Thursday by Montana State, and they'll look to recover on the road against the Montana Grizzlies in Big Sky Conference play at Dahlberg Arena.
It was just the fourth loss of the season for Northern Colorado, and the first loss in conference play this season. The Bears dropped the contest to the Bobcats, 70-55, and will make the short trip from Bozeman to Missoula to face the Grizzlies.
Montana ended a two-game losing skid Thursday night at home against North Dakota, 84-71, to improve to 2-3 in the Big Sky. Only once this season has Montana strung together multiple wins.
Montana has a firm grasp on the all-time series lead with Northern Colorado, 16-6. These two teams will meet later this season in Colorado on Feb. 13.
Both Northern Colorado and Montana State struggled shooting as the game opened up Thursday, as the teams combined to shoot 2-of-13 from the floor in the first four minutes of play. Tate Unruh led the Bears in scoring in the contest with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting. Tim Huskisson contributed 14 points and eight rebounds, connecting on 6-of-7 from the field. The Bears shot 46.8 percent in the game.
Derrick Barden, who scored just four points in the loss to Montana State, leads the Northern Colorado squad in scoring this season with 13.1 ppg and a team-high 8.7 rpg. Barden has connected on 55.9 percent of his shots this season. Unruh is second on the roster with a 12.1 ppg average, and Huskisson is third at 11.6 ppg. The Bears connect on an impressive 49.1 percent of their shots and score an average of 74.1 ppg.
Montana didn't have a very difficult time disposing of North Dakota Thursday night in Missoula. Kareem Jamar scored a career-high 33 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor, and hitting 14-of-16 free-throw attempts, to help the Grizzlies in the win. He added five assists and four rebounds to his stat line. Both Jordan Gregory and Keron DeShields chipped in 11 points for Montana, which shot 52.3 percent from the floor in the game.
Jamar paces the Grizzlies in scoring this season with an average of 19.6 ppg, connecting on 48.9 percent of his shots from the field. Jamar is also the team's top rebounder at 5.8 rpg and top passer with 4.6 apg. Jamar is averaging a whopping 36.8 minutes per contest, and rightfully so, since he leads the Griz in all major categories. Gregory is second on the team with 14.3 ppg, and DeShields is third at 12.8 ppg.
The Grizzlies may have gotten back on track with the home victory, but North Dakota wasn't nearly the competition Northern Colorado will prove to be. The Bears should bounce back with a formidable scoring onslaught in Missoula.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 75, Montana 68
01/18 10:18:01 ET