January 21, 2006

Taibi Scores Career-High As Bears Fall Short, 71-65, at Utah Valley State

Jan. 21, 2006

Box Score |  Notes

OREM, Utah - Sophomore Sean Taibi scored a career-high 28 points but it was not enough as the University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team fell to Division I Independent rival Utah Valley State by a 71-65 margin on Saturday night.

Utah Valley State (8-11) won for the 27th time in its last 30 games at the McKay Center and did so by hitting 29-of-39 from the free throw line while Northern Colorado (2-20) only went to the line 16 times, with several of those chances coming very late in the game.

Much like former Utah Valley State star and current Sacramento King Ronnie Price did in Orem against the Bears (he averaged 27.5 points in five previous meetings with the Bears) Taibi put on a show for the fans in attendance. He hit 11-of-22 from the field and 4-of-9 from 3-point range on his way to that career-best performance.

Utah Valley State used a 12-2 run in the first half to grab a nine-point lead late in the period. But Taibi kept his team close, scoring 15 of his points in the first frame, as the Bears trailed by five, 29-24, at the break. The Wolverines would go up by 11 points late in the second period before UNC mounted a comeback.

Northern Colorado cut the lead to six late in the contest, but the Wolverines got the job done by hitting a majority of their free throw attempts. Utah Valley managed only three field goals in the last 9:18 of the contest but made up for it with their effort at the charity stripe, as they scored their final 12 points from the free throw line.

"I think our guys did a good job keeping their poise tonight and I am proud of their effort," Bears head coach Craig Rasmuson said after the game. "We had some defensive lapses in the second half and (Ben) Devoe made some big shots and that, on top of the free throw margin, beat us."

Dwayne Birden was the only other Northern Colorado player in double figures, as he matched his career-high with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. It marked his first double-figure scoring game since Eastern Michigan (Dec. 30); Birden also grabbed seven rebounds. Senior Erik Olson matched his season-high with eight rebounds.

The reigning Division I Independent Player of the Week, Kirk Archibeque, scored only two points in 15 minutes of action, as he was battling a case of strep throat.

UVSC was led by Devoe's 14 points, as three Wolverines scored in double figures.

Utah Valley State improved to 6-0 all-time against the Bears; the teams will play one more time this season, on Feb. 25 in Greeley.

Northern Colorado is off until next Saturday when they host another Division I Independent, this time Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (3:30 p.m. MT). The game is part of a doubleheader with the Northern Colorado women's team (vs. UC-Colorado Springs) which begins at 1 p.m.