December 20, 2010

Beitzel again strong, but Bears struggle vs. Rams at Moby

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FORT COLLINS -- Senior Devon Beitzel scored a game-high 29 points against Colorado State on Monday night, but few of his teammates were able to match his output in a 75-61 loss at Moby Arena.

The Bears (4-6) committed 20 turnovers and were called for a season-high 27 fouls in the 103rd meeting between the two schools and let the Rams (5-3) take 39 trips to the free-throw line.

Northern Colorado, which defeated the Rams last year in Greeley, were looking for their first win in the series in Fort Collins since the 1986-87 season. A back-to-back victory would have been the Bears' first since 1943.

Colorado State held its largest lead with 14 minutes remaining before the Bears fought back to make a game of it late, getting to within seven, 61-54, with 7:55 to go.

Their momentum stopped there, though, after having myriad opportunities slip away with foul whistles and turnovers.

Beitzel nearly matched his career high in the loss (32 points against Northern Arizona in 2008) by finishing 10 of 19 from the field and four of nine from three-point land. He led all players with 15 points in the first half, and, at times, single-handedly kept Northern Colorado in the game.

But his defense, along with the rest of the Bears, was exposed at times, highlighting an issue that's been prevalent for the Bears early on this season.

"Devon is one of those guys you wish never graduated," Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill said. "He's such a security blanket for me, but he's got his deficiencies, as well. (Wes) Eikmeier was going by him left and right tonight, and he knows it.

"(We) are understanding what our deficiencies are, but if we don't change it, and we don't take pride in it nothing is going to change. We've got to take pride on the defensive end of the floor or this isn't going to change."

Senior Chris Kaba, whose dunk with about nine minutes left got the Bears back within 10 points in the second half, finished with 11 points and four rebounds and was the only other Bear to join Beitzel in double figures.

Eikmeier led the Rams with 17 points and Travis Franklin backed him with 16, including 12 from the free-throw line. Leading scorer Andy Ogide battled foul trouble for much of the contest and ended with 13.

The Bears were outscored 28-16 in the paint in the loss, getting just eight points from starting frontcourt players Neal Kingman and Taylor Montgomery.