January 24, 2008

Men's Basketball Falls 70-67 To Montana State

Jan. 24, 2008

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

GREELEY, Colo. - A 9:23 scoring draught in the first half ended up costing the University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team as they fell 70-67 to Montana State in front of 1,248 fans at Butler-Hancock Thursday evening. The Bobcats improve to 11-8 overall and 3-3 in Big Sky Conference play, while the Bears move to 8-11 overall and 2-5 in league action.


Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos led the team in scoring for the second straight game as he scored 14 and had a team-best five assists and two steals with no turnovers. Junior guard Robert Palacios tallied his second double-double of the year with 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, while junior forward Jabril Banks and freshman forward Taylor Montgomery each added 10 points. Palacios also led the game with three steals and did a stellar job guarding the Big Sky Conference's leading scorer Carlos Taylor, holding him to just six points.


"Robert Palacios did a great job defending Taylor," said Head Coach Tad Boyle. "As a team, we have to learn to feed off great defense. Robert brings it every day in practice and to every game. He doesn't always play great, but he gives it all he has."


The Bobcats were led by guard Casey Durham with 18 points, as he hit 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and forward Branden Johnson came off the bench to add 15. Both forward Adrian Zamora and center Divaldo Mbunga led the team with six rebounds and guard Phil Friesen tallied a game-high eight assists.


"We jumped out to an early 14-4 lead and then went stagnant for nine-and-a-half minutes," stated Boyle. "At halftime, I felt fortunate to be tied. We didn't play with a sense of urgency tonight. We played well enough to win but in the second half it was free throws. With this team it's always something. We're having trouble putting 40 minutes together."


Montana State shot .455 from the field for the game, including .524 (11-21) from beyond the arc and hit 9-of-10 from the free throw line, while Northern Colorado shot just .381 from the field, .227 (5-22) from beyond the arc and .583 from the free throw line (14-24). The Bears out-rebounded the Bobcats 38-36 and committed a season-low 10 turnovers.


Northern Colorado hosts Montana on Saturday evening in the second of a Bears' doubleheader as the wrestling team hosts North Dakota State at 2:00 p.m. The men's basketball game is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m.