February 22, 2012

Men's Basketball ready for first-place 'Cats on Senior Night

Game 27: Weber State Get Acrobat Reader

When: 7:05 p.m. (MT) Thursday, Feb. 23   
Where: Greeley, Colorado -- Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion (2,992)
Live stats: uncbears.com   
Radio: KFKA-AM 1310 (Troy Coverdale)   
TV: CET Sports (tape delay) -- Brian Roth, Marty Cesario
Coaches: UNC's B.J. Hill (30-28 overall; second season) faces Randy Rahe (117-65 overall; sixth season)
All-time series: Weber State leads 8-3 in a series that started with Big Sky play in 2006-07. The Bears have won two straight at home.

OPENING TIP
  • Northern Colorado will play its final regular-season home game of the 2011-12 season Thursday night when it welcomes in Big Sky-leading Weber State for a 7:05 p.m. MT game at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
  • The Bears have qualified for the Big Sky Conference Championship in each of the last three seasons, and they face a near must-win situation Thursday against the Wildcats to qualify for the fourth straight year.
  • The Bears likely need to defeat Weber State and then win on the road next Tuesday at Portland State, and get some help from Eastern Washington and Montana State, to qualify for the Championship and defend their title.
  • Northern Colorado would be eliminated from 2012 postseason play with a loss in either game and wins by Montana State and Eastern Washington.
  • A win Thursday against Weber State (tied with Montana for the Big Sky lead) would help in a tiebreaker situation with the Bobcats or the Eagles. The Big Sky Conference utilizes head-to-head records as its first tiebreaker in postseason qualification but record against conference teams (in descending order) is the second tiebreaker.
  • The Bears and their fans figure to be an emotional group Thursday as Northern Colorado Athletics is set to host "Senior Night" and honor Mike Proctor in his final home game for the Bears.
  • Proctor has quietly put together one of the most well-rounded careers in Northern Colorado Basketball history. He enters Thursday's game with more than 800 career points (803), more than 600 career rebounds (639), and he has started 69 times in his career and led the Bears in rebounds 41 times. "Procchops," as his teammates and fans have sometimes called him, will definitely be missed.
  • The Bears and the Wildcats have played 11 times in their history, with Weber State owning an 8-3 advantage since the series started with Big Sky play during the 2006-07 season.
  • Northern Colorado is 3-2 all-time against Weber State in Greeley and has won the last two times the teams have played in Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, including earning a 19-point win (65-46) last season.
  • The Bears have lost eight home games this season (5-8) and have one game remaining at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion. Northern Colorado has lost nine or more games at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion just twice in the 38 years it's played in the building (It lost 10 times in 1990-91; nine times during the 2006-07 season).
PROCTOR CHOPPING AWAY AT CAREER REBOUNDS LIST
  • Senior Mike Proctor enters his "Senior Night" on a climb up the Bears' career rebounds list. He enters Thursday's game with 639 rebounds in his four-year career, putting him in sixth place in school history and leaving him just nine rebounds shy of fifth place (see chart on page 8).
  • His 17-rebound performance Monday night, Jan. 30, at Northern Arizona helped with his climb.
  • That effort tied him with Weber State's Frank Otis for the most single-game rebounds by a Big Sky player this season and tied him with former Bear Reggie York (2000-01) for the most single-game rebounds by a Northern Colorado player since 2000. York's performance came against Morningside College on Jan. 6, 2001.
  • The program's previous NCAA Division I single-game rebound record was held by Kirk Archibeque (2003-08), who grabbed 15 in a game against Utah Valley State on Jan. 15, 2005.
SVIHOVEC ... LEARN THE NAME ... AND LEARN IT WELL
  • Redshirt-freshman Tevin Svihovec earned his first career start against Johnson & Wales on Dec. 3, and he's been going gangbusters ever since. He hasn't not started a game since (19 games) and is averaging a team-best 13.1 points per game as a starter with 48.8 percent shooting from the field and 82.3 percent shooting from the free-throw line.
  • Svihovec has twice scored 30 or more points in his first collegiate season, putting in 30 points in a double-overtime road win at Idaho State earlier this season and then surpassing that with 34 points last Saturday against Cal Poly.
  • His 30-point effort against the Begnals was the sixth-highest individual scoring game in the Bears' NCAA Division I history and tied Kirk Archibeque (30 points vs. Texas State, Dec. 2004) for the highest scoring game by a Northern Colorado freshman at the Division I level.
  • He rewrote the record book against Cal Poly, setting the new standard in Northern Colorado Basketball single-game scoring.
  • Svihovec scored 11 points in his first start against J&W but then put in just two points apiece in the Bears' subsequent games against Denver and Marquette. Since then, however, he has scored fewer than 10 a game just once (at Eastern Washington) and gotten to double figures in 15 of 16 games.
  • None of it comes as a surprise to Northern Colorado coach B.J. Hill or his assistants. They had designs on utilizing Svihovec a lot last year as a true freshman -- when they won the Big Sky Conference -- but a preseason foot injury to Svihovec derailed those plans.
YOUNG GUNS
  • A senior has led Northern Colorado in scoring average in each of the last three seasons, with Devon Beitzel (2010-11), Will Figures (2009-10) and Jabril Banks (2008-09) all leading the way. And before that two juniors paced the Bears in scoring, with Banks (2007-08) and Sean Taibi (2006-07) carrying the torch in their third years on the floor.
  • So current sophomore Tate Unruh and freshman Tevin Svihovec, who lead Northern Colorado in scoring per game this season with 11.0 points and 10.9 points per game, respecitvely, are marching into uncharted territory.
  • The last underclassman to finish the as the Bears' season scoring leader was Taibi, who scored 15.3 points per game as a sophomore during the 2005-06 season.
  • If Svihovec passes Unruh in the season scoring race he would become just the fifth freshman in school history to lead Northern Colorado in scoring in a season and would be the first since Todd Lane (1990-93) led the Bears during the 1990-91 season at 15.3 points per game.
  • And as far as single-game scoring goes, both have accomplished something this season that hadn't been done since Beitzel's sophomore season (2008-09). Unruh put in a career-high 25 points earlier this year at Marquette, and Svihovec scored 30 points in the Bears' double-overtime loss at Idaho State.
  • If either's career turns out like Beitzel's -- he was the 2010-11 Big Sky Conference MVP and a 2011 Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American -- the Bears and their fans are in for a treat.