Northern Colorado (2-3) vs. Bethune-Cookman (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 27th, 2:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: None. Home Record: UNC 2-0, Bethune-Cookman 2-0. Away Record: UNC 0-2, Bethune-Cookman 0-2. Neutral Record: UNC 0-1, Bethune-Cookman 0-1. Conference Record: UNC 0-0, Bethune-Cookman 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Two teams searching for their first wins of the season away from home continue towards that goal as the Northern Colorado Bears meet up with the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman as part of the Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena this afternoon.
Since defeating the likes of Edward Waters and Stetson at home to kick off the 2010-11 campaign, the Wildcats have suffered three straight setbacks all somewhere other than home. On Friday, the squad was taken down by the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a 69-65 final.
As for the Bears, they too have hit the skids since opening the new season with back-to-back wins over the likes of Tabor College and Wyoming. After that the squad dropped meetings with Arizona and Santa Clara before allowing Valparaiso to come from behind and grab a 76-61 win yesterday in this tourney.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, this is the first-ever meeting.
The Bears led at the half by six points versus Valpo on Friday afternoon, but after the break it all fell apart for UNC as the team made just seven total field goals while the Crusaders knocked down 65.2 percent from the floor and 9-of-11 behind the three-point line in the frame. Devon Beitzel tried to keep UNC in contention with his 23 points on 4-of-6 shooting behind the three-point line and a perfect 9-of-9 at the charity stripe, but it simply was not enough. Emmanuel Addo and Neal Kingman checked in with 12 and 11 points, respectively, the former also clearing a team-best nine rebounds. Beitzel, the leading scorer in three of five games so far this season, is responsible for 16.4 ppg as he has connected on every single one of his 23 free-throw chances. Because of his perfection at the stripe the Bears as a whole have made good on 80.7 percent of their overall attempts. Kingman accounts for 11.8 ppg, but he's the one who has kept the Bears from really sticking it to the competition at the line, hitting a mere 55.6 percent to this point.
Despite shooting just 8-of-23 from the field in the first half on Friday, the Wildcats were still sticking around at the half versus Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In fact, Bethune-Cookman came out and hit 51.9 percent from the floor after the break, but that still wasn't good enough to keep them out of the loss column yet again. CJ Reed was again the top scorer for the program with his 23 points, followed by Alexander Starling who delivered 15 points before fouling out. Kevin Dukes chipped in 12 points off the bench as well for a team that was crushed in the paint in both scoring (42-18) and rebounding (47-23). Reed is easily pacing the Wildcats in the early portion of the campaign with his 20.8 ppg, and he is also tops with close to four and a half assists per game as well. Starling's 56.7 percent accuracy from the floor has elevated him to 10.2 ppg, while Garrius Holloman (9.2 ppg) handles much of the action in the paint for the group with almost seven rebounds per game.
The battle between Reed and Beitzel should be an interesting one, which means the difference in the meeting will come down to the supporting cast. In this case, that is an area that probably benefits the Bears right now.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 68, Bethune-Cookman 62
11/27 10:57:01 ET