January 9, 2008

Men's Basketball Upsets San Diego State, 62-56

Jan. 9, 2008

Final Stats

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - For the first time in 12 tries, the Northern Colorado men's basketball team won a road game, upsetting San Diego State 62-56 on Wednesday evening. The Bears even their record at 8-8, while the Aztecs fall to 11-4 on the year.


The last road win for NC came at Sacramento State on Jan. 31, 2007. The win also snaps San Diego State's 13-game home winning streak which was tied for the 11th-longest active streak in the nation.


Redshirt freshman guard Devon Beitzel posted a huge career-high with 15 points to lead the team in scoring. His previous high of 10 also came against a Mountain West team, as he did so against Colorado State on Dec. 1.


Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason added 14 points, while freshman forward Taylor Montgomery was one point shy of his career-high with 13. Both Montgomery and junior forward Jabril Banks led the team with eight rebounds, while Montgomery also led with a career-high four assists and Beitzel had a career-high four steals.


"This was probably our biggest win since going Division I," said Head Coach Tad Boyle. "I think San Diego State is the best team in the Mountain West. The key coming into the game was we wanted to take away their easy baskets, and for the most part we did that. Devon was the player of the game, he was unbelievable, he played with confidence, guarded well, handled the ball."


"After the Idaho State game we gave everyone on the team two things they needed to work on to get better. To Devon I gave just one thing: be ready when your number is called and he definitely did that tonight."


Northern Colorado had a short bench with just nine players available to play. Senior Kirk Archibeque and senior Sean Taibi were both out with injuries, while freshman forward Neal Kingman was battling flu-like symptoms.


The Bears shot .479 (23-48) from the field and .684 (13-19) from the free throw line. They also out-rebounded the Aztecs 36-20. Both teams turned the ball over frequently with the Bears committing 22 and the Aztecs 17. San Diego State shot .383 from the field (18-47) and hit 9-21 (.429) from beyond the arc and .647 (11-17) from the free throw line.


The Bears' freshmen came out firing in the first half as guard Beitzel led the team with nine points and forward Montgomery added eight as the pair were responsible for 17 of the team's 27 points. NC took the early 4-0 lead off baskets from Montgomery and Mason, but the Aztecs scored eight of the next 10 for the 8-6 lead. The Bears answered with a 7-0 run for the 13-8 advantage. Thirteen of the next 16 points were scored by San Diego State to give the Aztecs their largest lead of the half at 21-16, but NC tallied nine of the next 11 to regain the lead at 25-23 and the teams traded baskets right before halftime.


Northern Colorado out-rebounded San Diego State by eight in the first half, 15-7. The Bears shot .500 (12-24) from the field and .333 (2-6) from beyond the arc. The Aztecs shot .474 (9-19) for the half and .500 (5-10) from the three-point line. Both teams turned the ball over frequently in the first stanza as the Bears had 12 and the Aztecs had 11.


The Bears came out of the locker room with the same intensity for the second half, scoring nine of the first 11 to increase their lead to nine, 36-27. After a San Diego State timeout, Davis took over for the Aztecs, hitting three triples and making four of five free throws to give the Aztecs the 44-43 advantage with 8:47 on the clock. Mason hit three of four free throws to give the Bears back the lead at 46-44, keeping NC in the game despite not scoring a field goal for almost seven minutes. Banks broke that stretch, hitting the team's 48th point at 4:25. SDSU scored the next four to take the 50-48 lead, but it would be the Aztecs last as the Bears scored eight straight for the 58-50 lead with 25.6 remaining.


Spain hit another three for SDSU with 15.4 on the clock and Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos made one of two from the charity stripe with 13.7 ticks left. A technical foul was called on Northern Colorado with 6.5 seconds remaining and Spain hit the second free throw and D.J. Gay made a layup to close within three, 59-56. Sophomore Will Figures was fouled with 0.5 on the clock, he made the first one, missed the second and a Mason putback made the final 62-56.


Northern Colorado returns to Big Sky Conference play at Eastern Washington on Jan. 17. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m. (Pacific).