Idaho State (5-7) at Northern Colorado (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,977) -- Greeley,
Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: ISU 4-1, UNC 8-0. Away Record: ISU
1-5, UNC 1-3. Neutral Record: ISU 0-1, UNC 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 2-1,
UNC 3-0. Series Record: Idaho State leads, 33-18.
GAME NOTES: The Northern Colorado Bears try to remain perfect in Big Sky
Conference play, as they entertain the Idaho State Bengals at Butler-Hancock
Sports Pavilion on Saturday night.
Along with Montana State, the Bears are the only team that has yet to be
defeated in Big Sky play, starting off 3-0. The team also sports the best
overall record in the league at 9-3, again joining MSU as the only programs
with winning records heading into the weekend. Still undefeated at home
through eight games, UNC has won seven of the last eight outings overall,
thanks to a 70-51 romp over Weber State two nights ago.
While not nearly as dominant over the first two months of the campaign, the
Bengals should feel good about opening league play with a 2-1 mark. The squad
began with victories against Portland State and Eastern Washington before
being taken down by North Dakota two nights ago, 66-62.
Idaho State owns a 33-18 advantage in the all-time series after earning a
split of last year's two contests.
Chris Hansen scored a game-high 24 points, shooting 6-of-11 behind the 3-point
line, and also worked his way into the paint in order to clear eight rebounds,
but even that sort of effort was not enough for the Bengals to hold off North
Dakota. Andre Hatchett came up a rebound shy of a double-double as he tallied
11 points, followed by Jeffrey Solarin with 10 points, but overcoming a
massive 23 turnovers, seven along by Tomas Sanchez, was just too much to ask
Hansen has produced 17.1 ppg this season, converting 42.9 percent of his 3-
point tries, yet in conference play he has upped his efforts to 21.0 ppg and
is shooting an even 50 percent out on the perimeter, along with clearing 5.3
rpg in order to create a serious mismatch for defenders. Sanchez checks in
with 15.3 ppg on the campaign and a team-best 59 assists, but as he showed on
Thursday it is not out of the realm of possibility that he can try to do too
much and actually hurt the Bengals.
In addition to shooting 51.7 percent from the field in the first half, the
Bears turned around and limited visiting Weber State to only 29.4 percent
accuracy in the second half of their blowout win on Thursday night. Derrick
Barden produced a double-double consisting of 21 points and 13 rebounds,
followed by reserve Tevin Svihovec with 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting behind
the 3-point line. Tim Huskisson added 12 points and five assists and Tate
Unruh 10 points for the hosts as well.
With four players scoring in double figures at the moment, the Bears are one
of the more balanced offensive teams in the league, led by Barden with his
14.1 ppg on 57.3 percent shooting from the floor. Barden is also tops on the
glass with slightly more than nine rebounds per outing and that provides the
program with a cushion of 5.1 rpg right now. Coming off the bench in recent
games, Svihovec's 11.8 ppg is the sort of boost that opponents are not always
ready to account for.
Undefeated at home, with an offense that can score against almost any
opponent, it would be foolish to pick against a UNC team tonight that is going
up against a Bengals group that has been woeful on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Northern Colorado 77, Idaho State 62
01/11 10:33:28 ET
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