GAME NOTES: Northern Colorado tries to stay atop the Big Sky Conference standings, as the Bears entertain the Sacramento State Hornets at Butler- Hancock Sports Pavilion on Saturday night.
The Bears enter the weekend tied with Weber State for the lead in the league standings at 6-1. UNC is currently the only program in the conference that has double-digit wins overall, showing off a 12-4 record at the moment. On Thursday, the Bears took down Northern Arizona at home in an 87-72 final, the team's second straight win and the sixth in the last seven outings.
As for the Hornets, they have a total of just six wins to their credit right now. The team absorbed another league letdown two nights ago in an 82-71 loss to North Dakota on the road. The squad is just 2-5 in conference play as a result.
In terms of the all-time series, the Bears hold a 10-4 advantage, winning the most recent meeting in Greeley last season, 78-64.
The Hornets dug themselves a hole against North Dakota a few nights back when they converted only nine field goals in the first half and were never able to recover. Zach Mills tried to keep hope alive as he tallied 20 points on 8- of-13 from the floor, followed by Dylan Garrity with 18 points, but it just wasn't meant to be.
Overall this season the Hornets are looking at an offense that is producing a mere 65.5 ppg, while the defense is permitting 68.0 ppg. Mikh McKinney is responsible for 13.4 ppg as he shoot 83.6 percent at the free-throw line and is first on the unit with both 54 assists and 21 steals. But not all the news is good for McKinney as he shoots only 27.0 percent behind the 3-point line. Garrity (12.9 ppg) tries to balance the scale in that department with 45.9 percent out on the perimeter, but still it is a struggle for the program.
The Bears went from shooting 53.1 percent from the floor in the first half the other night to a staggering 68.2 percent after the break in order to cruise to the 15-point win versus Northern Arizona at home. Tate Unruh connected on 5- of-7 behind the 3-point line and all five of his attempts at the charity stripe as he tallied 20 points, followed by Tim Huskisson with 19. Also scoring in double figures were Derrick Barden and Tevin Svihovec with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
In conference bouts, Unruh leads the attack for the Bears with his 15.1 ppg, shooting not just 57.4 percent from the field but a staggering 52.9 percent beyond the arc. Huskisson (14.3 ppg) takes it up a few notches with his 60.3 percent effort from the floor and an equally impressive 61.9 percent out on the perimeter. Barden (13.6 ppg) doesn't waste his time beyond the arc, instead he remains close to the rim in order to bring down 8.0 rpg, providing the squad with a rebounding advantage of 8.4 rpg.
Sporting a perfect record at home this season (10-0), the Bears are well aware of what it takes to post victories in their own building, and as long as Unruh can find some open shots the hosts should be in a comfortable position tonight.
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