November 1, 2006

Men's Basketball Opens Season With Exhibition Victory Over Colorado Mines

Nov. 1, 2006

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GREELEY, Colo. - Dwayne Birden scored 21 points and had eight rebounds while Terry Anderson had 14 points, six assists and three steals as the University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team overcame a sloppy start to top Colorado School of Mines 75-68 in exhibition play on Wednesday night.

Northern Colorado missed five of its first six shots as Colorado Mines jumped out to leads of 10-2 and 15-5 in the first four minutes. The Orediggers led by as many as 10 (31-21) with 4:21 to play in the half before the Bears offense began to click.

Dwayne Birden scored five of the Bears seven points in a 7-0 run and later hit a pair of free throws to close the lead to one, 33-32. But Mines added a pair of free throws before the half and led 35-32 at the break.

Northern Colorado started the second half strong as freshman Devon Beitzel hit a 3-pointer to put the Bears on top 37-36 and the team would not trail again. That trifecta was part of a 15-3 run that put the game out of reach.

"It was ugly early but that was to be expected," Bears first-year head coach Tad Boyle said. "We have had only 16 practices and everything we are throwning at these guys is brand new. It is unrealistic to expect them to be a well-oiled machine at this point. I was proud of how we hung together and were able to make some runs during the game."

Anderson, a transfer from Trinidad Junior College, was very impressive, sparking the Bears defensive attack and scored his 14 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field and 6-of-9 from the charity stripe.

"Terry Anderson was the difference in the game," Boyle added. "We can get better on the defensive end as a team. Defense and rebounding will be our identity and I will preach that to our team the rest of the year."

Birden hit on 7-of-12 shots, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range to lead the Bears offensively. Junior Kirk Archibeque added nine points and pulled down 12 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

Colorado Mines was led by 23 points from Kyle Pape, who hit 12-of-15 from the free throw line.

The game was marked by a tight referee's whistle, as 67 fouls were called in the game.

Northern Colorado will begin the regular season on Nov. 11 when it travels to Muncie, Ind. to battle Ball State.