November 4, 2009

Beitzel leads the way as men's basketball cruises in exhibition

Box score | NC season schedule | Tad Boyle's NC season preview

GREELEY, Colo. -- Junior Devon Beitzel scored a game-high 18 points Wednesday night for Northern Colorado, and four of his teammates joined him in double figures as the Bears drilled Western State 111-65 in an exhibition game inside Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

Beitzel scored 14 first-half points on perfect shooting (five of five from the field, four of four from beyond the three-point stripe) to send the Bears into the locker room in complete control of their former Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference foe, 59-33.

Junior Taylor Montgomery finished with 13 points and six rebounds, juniors Will Figures and Neal Kingman added 12, and newcomer David Arnold shone above all of Northern Colorado's eight new faces with 12 points of his own, to go along with a rebound and an assist.

In all, 15 players scored in the Bears' romp, and 14 players snagged at least one rebound.

"We've definitely got some depth to work with this season, and we're excited about that," Northern Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "Now, we're going to redshirt some guys -- we've got some tough decisions to make -- but we think we're getting to the point as a program, where we can bring a second unit in that's seasoned and able to do some great things."

Missing from the Bears' final stats Wednesday were turnovers, and that's always a good thing. NC handed the Mountaineers the ball just nine times in the win, a far cry from its giving nature in the recent past.

"That's great for this basketball team," Boyle said. "Especially when you think about some of the teams we've had here recently, where we turned it over a lot. That's always kind of been an Achilles' heel for this program. But that didn't happen tonight, and I expect that to continue. We need that to continue."

A Beitzel trey at the 14:37 mark of the first half gave Northern Colorado a 22-8 advantage, but Western State went on a 19-7 run over the next three-plus minutes to pull within two, 29-27, with 11:11 remaining before the break.

The Bears pushed their advantage back to 17 by the 4:38 mark with a lineup that was mostly freshmen for most of that seven-minute span.

Boyle brought back in his veterans shortly thereafter, and Northern Colorado cruised into the break and through much of the second half with little threat from the Mountaineers.

"We just wanted to come out fired up and ready to go," Beitzel said. "We know it's exhibition, but we wanted to approach it like a regular-season game. You always want to start off on the right foot, and I think we did that tonight."

Sophomore forward Mike Proctor scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the win, and freshman forward Emmanuel Addo (AH-doo) scored seven points and tied freshman Hauns Brereton with a game-high seven rebounds.

Senior guard Yahosh Bonner and junior forward Chris Kaba had six points.

"We've got a lot of firepower on this team," Beitzel said. "There's a lot of guys who can step up and score some points. Our main focus, though, is on defense. We know there are going to be nights where the ball's not dropping, and we'll need to rely on defense to get some wins."

GAME NOTES: Bonner, Figures, Beitzel, Kaba and Montgomery drew the starting nod Wednesday ... The Bears scored 42 second-chance points to Western State's five ... Northern Colorado allowed the Mountaineers to score just two fast-break points ... The Bears will officially start their 2009-10 season Friday, Nov. 13, with an 8 p.m. (MT) game against McNeese State in the Outrigger Hotels Hawaii Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, Hawai'i ... Northern Colorado will then play Southern Utah at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on Sunday, Nov. 15, and the host Warriors at 2 a.m. (MT) on Monday, Nov. 16 ... Northern Colorado's game against Hawaii will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, during the network's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon.