GAME NOTES: The Northern Colorado Bears will put a two-game win streak on the line as they travel to face the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in a Big Sky Conference showdown at the Walkup Skydome.
Northern Colorado is trying to keep pace with Weber State in the conference standings, and could reach double-digit Big Sky win with a victory against NAU. The Bears are coming off an 83-73 win over Montana State Saturday.
Northern Arizona had a two-game win streak snapped with a loss on Saturday at Eastern Washington, 84-65, which kept the Lumberjacks from tying Northern Colorado at 9-5 in the conference. NAU is 8-6 in the Big Sky entering this clash.
Northern Colorado holds a slim lead in the all-time series between the two teams, 11-8. The Bears captured a one-sided victory on their home court against the Lumberjacks, 87-72, back on Jan. 23.
The Bears held just a one-point lead over Montana State at the half on Saturday, but exploded in the second half offensively, connecting on 80 percent of its shot attempts from the floor which helped them cruise to victory. Tevin Svihovec led Northern Colorado with 17 points in the contest, complemented by Derrick Barden's 14 points and 13 from Jordan Wilson, Tate Unruh and Tim Huskisson each. The Bears connected on 58.8 percent of their field goal tries in the win.
Barden leads Northern Colorado in scoring this season with a 13.8 ppg average, hitting an impressive 56.6 percent of his shots attempts from the field. Barden's 8.4 rpg average is a team high, and 1.3 spg mark also tops the squad. Huskisson checks in behind Barden in scoring with 11.9 ppg, and Unruh is right behind him at 11.8 ppg. Svihovec rounds out the Bears' double-digit scorers this season with 10.6 ppg, and leads the roster in assists with 2.5 apg.
Eastern Washington jumped ahead of Northern Arizona in the first half thanks in large part to its ability to connect from long range. The Eagles hit eight 3-point tries in the first half, and took a 39-26 lead into the intermission. EWU connected on 16 total 3-pointers in the defeat of NAU, and Tyler Harvey had nine of them. Kris Yanku scored 30 points off the bench for the Lumberjacks and dished out a team-high four assists. Quinton Upshur netted 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss.
Upshur leads the Lumberjacks in scoring this season, netting 15.7 ppg on 45.3 percent shooting from the floor, adding a 1.8 spg average, which is a team best. Max Jacobsen is second, tallying 12.3 ppg, which is tied with Aaseem Dixon's 12.3 ppg average. Gaellan Bewernick leads Northern Arizona in rebounding at 6.3 rpg, and Yanku's 2.6 apg total is an NAU best.
Although the Bears were at home on Jan. 23, their convincing 15-point victory over Northern Arizona hints at a possible similar outcome this time around, especially if NAU's 67.8 ppg offense can't keep pace with Northern Colorado's 75.4 ppg.
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