Northern Colorado (13-7) at Weber State (12-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (12,000) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: UNC 11-0, WSU 10-1. Away Record: UNC 2-7, WSU 2-6. Neutral Record: UNC 0-0, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: UNC 7-4, WSU 9-2. Series Record: Weber State leads, 11-4.
GAME NOTES: The top two teams in the Big Sky Conference battle it out in Utah tonight, as the Weber State Wildcats entertain the Northern Colorado Bears at the Dee Events Center.
Earlier on, the Bears were the team to chase in the Big Sky as they opened with four straight league wins, but then the squad came back to Earth and is now 7-4 in league play. On Thursday night, UNC was stunned by Idaho State on the road in a 73-70 final, marking the third consecutive setback for the program and pushing them to a mere 2-7 on the road.
Losing three straight right out of the chute this season, it appeared the Wildcats were going to have a down year, but things are now looking up for WSU. Like the Bears, Weber State was also in action two nights ago, but in the case of the Wildcats they pulled out an 84-72 home win versus North Dakota in order to move to 9-2 in conference and 10-1 in Ogden.
The Bears blew the doors off Weber State in the first meeting of the season back on Jan. 9 by a score of 70-51 at home in Greeley. Derrick Barden led the attack for UNC with 21 points and 13 rebounds, but still the Bears trail in the all-time series by a count of 11-4.
A pair of Barden free throws put the Bears up by two with 2:31 remaining in regulation versus Idaho State, but from there the visitors came up with just two more points and allowed the Bengals to escape with the win. Barden finished with a team-best 14 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes of action, followed by Jordan Wilson with 13 points as the team saw a 51.0 percent shooting effort go to waste.
The only player to have started all 20 games for UNC, Barden continues to pace the Bears in both scoring and rebounding with 13.9 ppg and 8.6 rpg. Barden has been knocking down field goals at an impressive 57.4 percent rate, but his efforts at the free-throw line (.600) are far less encouraging. Tim Huskisson (12.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Tate Unruh (11.6 ppg) chip in to help the offense produce 74.9 ppg.
Davion Berry converted all but one of his 13 attempts at the free-throw line on Thursday night, finishing with 21 points as the Wildcats took down North Dakota at home by a dozen points. Joel Bolomboy registered a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Kyle Tresnak and Jeremy Senglin with 16 and 13 points, respectively. As a group, Weber State missed just three of 27 free-throw chances, outscoring the visitors by a 24-12 margin at the charity stripe.
Berry spearheads the offense for the Wildcats with his 19.2 ppg, producing more than one-third of his total output at the free-throw line. Not only can Berry be counted on to fill up the basket on most nights, he is also a key figure in keeping the rest of the team involved in the offense with his 69 assists. Tresnak (11.2 ppg) and Senglin (11.0 ppg) pitch in on offense, as does Bolomboy (8.8 ppg), but the latter may be more known for his efforts on the glass (11.1 rpg).
As he showed on Thursday, Bolomboy has the ability to assert himself in the paint and control a good part of the action and if he is able to do that here again against the Bears, it should be a sure win for the Wildcats.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 77, Northern Colorado 73
02/08 10:20:07 ET