December 20, 2008

Beitzel's Career Day Not Enough Against San Jose State

BOX SCORE: at San Jose State

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Northern Colorado head coach Tad Boyle has preached a simple three-word cadence over and over again to his Bears this season: "Defense, defense, defense."

It appears that Boyle is going to have to keep working on getting his players to truly realize what that means.

Sophomore Devon Beitzel scored a career-high 27 points and tied an NCAA Division I program record with 12 field goals Saturday afternoon against San Jose State, but the Spartans shot 76 percent in the second half and 67 percent in the game to outlast the Bears 89-78 at the San Jose Civic Auditorium.

"We ran into a heck of a team today," Boyle said. "These guys played extremely well. Sometimes you've got to tip your hat. But, at the same time, we're bringing out the best in everybody. Our field-goal percentage defense in the second half has got to be close to an NCAA record.

"I told our guys: 'Nothing is going to be given to you. One thing Division I basketball teaches you is nothing is going to be given to you.' We come in here and San Jose State was ready to play, and they took it to us today."

Offense has hardly been a problem for Northern Colorado (3-6) this season -- it came into the game second in the Big Sky Conference at 71.9 points per game. Its ability to stop opposing teams from putting the ball in the basket, though, has been a different story and has halted any sort of momentum for the Bears early on this year.

"It's a hard team to coach when you turn the thing over as much as we're doing," Boyle said. "And I don't have an answer for it. Maybe we just need to get back to passing and catching -- Basketball 101. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of practice time right now. We've got to adjust on the fly."

Boyle's group will now travel to Las Vegas this evening and get ready for its next game -- a meeting with the Liberty Flames in the Bears' third game of the 2008 Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Classic at 3:30 p.m. (MT) Monday afternoon.

The Bears Radio Network (1310 KFKA) will carry that game live on its Web site (1310kfka.com), and an online TV broadcast of the game will also be available for purchase ($8) at b2tv.com.

Northern Colorado's 78 points scored Saturday afternoon is tied for the most points the program has scored in a non-overtime defeat in the last two seasons. The Bears also scored 79 in a home loss to Portland State last February.

"You're not going to beat anybody if you can't stop them," Boyle said. "We've been saying that from day one. We're dead-last in the Big Sky Conference in field-goal percentage defense. And until we get that part of our game figured out, and learn to take care of the ball, we're going to be having a lot of these discussions."

Beitzel sizzled from the beginning in this one, matching his career high in the first half with 18 points before finishing with nine more in the second 20 minutes. He only missed a pair of shots from the field Saturday afternoon, and he missed his only free-throw attempt.

Sophomore Chris Kaba came off the bench and added a season-high 12 points, and senior Jabril Banks and John Pena each added 11 for Northern Colorado.

The Bears took their first and only lead of the game at 22-21 at the 10:40 mark in the first half, but a subsequent 11-0 run by San Jose State quickly erased that advantage and had the Spartans (4-3) on their way to a fourth victory this season.

Early on in the second half, Boyle, clearly unhappy with his starters' effort, called a timeout and replaced his original five (Pena, Will Figures, Beitzel, Taylor Montgomery and Banks) with an entirely new quintet (Yahosh Bonner, Mike Proctor, Kaba, Neal Kingman and Justin Wesolowski).

"At some point, you've got to look at the five that are out there," Boyle said. "They are the starting five, they've started the last three games ... It's not that I don't believe in them, but they weren't getting it done. They weren't getting stops.

"So we brought five guys off the bench, and those guys practice really hard together every day and play with a lot of energy. And I thought they did a terrific job while they were in there."

NOTES: Banks' 14 minutes played were a season low... Northern Colorado was outrebounded in the game 23-19, which is the second straight game the Bears have been outrebounded after not being outrebounded in their first seven games... Beitzel's 12 field goals matched an identical performance by Kirk Archibeque, who did it twice, and Erik Olson... Saturday's game was played at the "unique" San Jose Civic Auditorium because of San Jose State's graduation festivities in its on-campus Event Center... The Spartans hadn't hosted a game in the Civic since losing to UC Irvine during the 1994-95 season.