Montana State (12-12) at Northern Colorado (14-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 15, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,734) -- Greeley, Colorado. Television: Altitude. Home Record: MSU 7-4, UNC 12-0. Away Record: MSU 5-6, UNC 2-8. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 7-6, UNC 8-5. Series Record: Montana State leads, 35-20.
GAME NOTES: Northern Colorado tries to keep a perfect home record intact tonight, as the Bears entertain the Montana State Bobcats in Big Sky Conference action at the Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
Two nights ago, the Bears almost saw their unblemished home mark come to an end versus Montana, but the hosts made it to overtime where they dismissed the Grizzlies in an 89-86 final. Not only is UNC now 12-0 in Greeley this season, but the team is also tied for second place in the conference standings with Northern Arizona at 8-5.
A step behind the Bears and tied with Montana and North Dakota for fourth place in the Big Sky is an MSU squad that took care of North Dakota on the road on Thursday with a 78-70 win. The victory was the second in a row for a team that has a three-game homestand ready to begin five days from now versus Idaho State.
Montana State crushed the Bears in the first meeting of the season last month at home by a score of 70-55, which means the all-time series now favors the Bobcats by a margin of 35-20.
Flavien Davis scored 19 points, leading five players in double figures, as the Bobcats posted the eight-point win over North Dakota in Big Sky Conference play at the Sioux Center. Shooting 4-of-5 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line, Marcus Colbert added 16 points for the Bobcats, followed by the trio of Paul Egwuonwu, Eric Norman and Stephan Holm with 10 points each in the triumph. The visitors overcame 17 turnovers by outscoring North Dakota at the free-throw line by a whopping 28-7 margin.
Montana State has broken even through 24 games by almost scoring the exact same number of points as all of the competition. The Bobcats and everyone else on the schedule are separated by a mere two points overall, so it only makes sense that so many games these days could go either way. Davis, a starter in 17 games, is responsible for 12.2 ppg, but he is the only double-digit scorer on the roster and when the ball lands in his hands, the chances of someone else being led to a score by Davis (13 assists) is rather slim.
Tate Unruh scored five of his eight points in overtime as Northern Colorado claimed a thrilling three-point triumph versus Montana. Leading the way on offense for the Bears was Tevin Svihovec with 21 points, followed by Derrick Barden with a strong overall effort that included 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Tim Huskisson came off the bench to offer up 12 points on 6- of-7 shooting from the field, followed by Jordan Wilson with 11 points and four assists.
Aside from the fact that he has made only 29.2 percent of his 3-point tries this season, Barden is still the go-to guy when the Bears need to put points on the board, averaging 13.8 ppg to pace four players in double figures. Barden is converting 56.9 percent of his field goal attempts, and leads the program with 8.3 rpg after having pulled down almost twice as many offensive boards (70) as anyone else on the roster.
Cutting it close is what Montana State has done far too much this season, but the problem is the squad doesn't produce enough on offense to keep opponents off their backs. While UNC may not have a dominant offensive performer either, the Bears do know that they can count on a host of players to carry them through.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 79, Montana State 72
02/15 10:29:37 ET