February 27, 2007

Men's Basketball Closes Out First Big Sky Season with Loss at NAU

Feb. 27, 2007

Box Score

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Despite getting one of its most balanced scoring efforts of the season, the University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team was unable to earn a season sweep of Northern Arizona, falling to the Lumberjacks 89-77 on Tuesday evening to close out its first season as a member of the Big Sky Conference.

Dwayne Birden scored 15 points in his final game for the Bears (4-24, 2-14), while Kirk Archibeque added 15 more on 6-of-7 shooting.

Along with Birden, Cory Lowe and Matt Kline suited up for the last time for Northern Colorado, and each finished with four points.

Will Figures added 13 points and Sean Taibi had 10, with each hitting 2-of-4 from 3-point range, marking just the fifth time this season that at least four Northern Colorado players hit for double figures.

The Bears shot well in the first half, hitting 12-of-29 (41.4 percent) from the field, though just 1-of-7 (14.3) from behind the arc, but Northern Arizona (17-10, 11-5) led by as many as 15 points before settling for a 47-36 lead at the half.

After the break, the Bears started to whittle away at NAU's lead, eventually cutting the deficit to just one point at 70-69 on a Dwayne Birden 3-pointer at the 6:16 mark, but the Lumberjacks went on a 14-3 run to maintain their lead and lock up the win, and a share of the Big Sky regular-season crown.

Stephan Sir led Northern Arizona with 22 points.