January 4, 2007

Men's Basketball Comes Up Just Short Against EWU

Jan. 4, 2007

Box Score

GREELEY, Colo. - The University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team's valiant comeback fell just short Thursday night against the Eastern Washington Eagles at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.

In front of a loud 1,089 fans, Northern Colorado fell 88-87 in a down-to-the-wire affair against Eastern Washington. The Eagles were led by pro prospect Rodney Stuckey's 25 points and 10 assists. EWU took advantage of a strong performance from its bench, which scored 42 points.

The Bears (2-13, 0-3 Big Sky) took a 2-1 lead in the opening minute, but it was their only lead of the game. Northern Colorado fell behind early to the hot-shooting Eagles (8-7, 2-1), who was able to take a 47-37 lead going into halftime. The Bears were able to go into the locker room on a high note, however, as freshman guard Darren Moore hit a jumper with three seconds left on the clock.

Northern Colorado cut the lead to seven at the start of the second half, but the Eagles soon took a 58-42 lead with 18:12 left. It looked as if EWU had things all but wrapped up, as it held a double-figure lead until 6:31 was left in the game. But as the Bears have proved time and time again this season, they can't be counted out.

The Bears trailed by nine points with just over two minutes to go before senior forward Dwayne Birden and junior center Kirk Archibeque took over, scoring all but three of the Bears' final 13 points.

A missed free throw by Stuckey with 14 seconds left gave the ball back to Northern Colorado, who trailed 87-84. But a turnover by junior guard Terry Anderson with seven seconds remaining handed it right back to the Eagles.

Eastern Washington's Rhett Humphrey sealed the game by making one of two free-throws with four seconds to go to put the Eagles up by four.

Sean Taibi was able to hit a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

Birden dropped in a career-high 29 to lead all scorers. Archibeque collected his first double-double of the season and the 13th of his career.

Northern Colorado will continue its Big Sky homestand with a showdown against the Portland State Vikings (10-6, 1-2) at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.