February 11, 2008

Men's Basketball Hosts Final Non-Conference Game

Feb. 11, 2008

Weekly Release: Johnson+Wales Get Acrobat Reader

Game #25

Johnson + Wales (4-16) at Northern Colorado (10-14, 4-8 Big Sky)

Tuesday, Feb. 12 • Greeley, Colo. • Butler-Hancock (2,734) • 7:05 p.m.

 

The Series................................................... JW

   Overall Record.......................................... 2-0

   In Greeley................................................. 2-0

   At Opponent.............................................. 0-0

   At Neutral Sites.......................................... 0-0

   Last Meeting.......................................... Nov. 27

   Boyle vs................................................... 2-0

 

The Coaches

   Northern Colorado......... Tad Boyle (13-37, 2nd year)

   Johnson+Wales..................... Jeff Culver (3rd year)

 

Radio

   KFKA 1310 AM......... Troy Coverdale, play-by-play

 

Audio Streaming

   Johnson+Wales................................ 1310kfka.com

 

Television

   None

 

Video Streaming

   Big Sky............................................. bigskytv.org

 

Live Stats

                None

 

Final Non-Conference

Northern Colorado steps out of Big Sky Conference play for the final time this season, hosting Johnson+Wales for the second time. It is the Bears only game of the week, happening Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.

 

Series History

This will be the third-ever meeting and the second this season between Johnson+Wales and Northern Colorado. Earlier this year, the Bears won a 62-51 decision on Nov. 27. Freshman forward Taylor Montgomery led the team with his first career double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Junior guard Robert Palacios also tallied a career-best seven steals in the game.

 

Road Recap

The Bears split Big Sky games on the road last week, picking up the first road win of the year in conference play with a 76-66 victory over Idaho State. The Bears then fell 70-54 at Weber State. Junior forward Jabril Banks was the only player in double figures in scoring in both games, scoring 13 at Idaho State and 12 at Weber State. He also led the club averaging 7.0 rebounds for the weekend. Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason went a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line over the two games.

 

Take Two, They're Free

Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason has stepped up his performance at the free throw line over the last seven games. In five of those seven games, he has been perfect from the charity stripe, starting the streak with a 10-for-10 showing at Portland State. Over the last seven, Mason is shooting .892 (33-for-37) from the free throw line.

 

Double Digit Victories

For the first time since 2002-03, Northern Colorado has recorded 10 wins in a season. The Bears are 10-14 on the year, the most wins since the team began the reclassification process to Division I and the most since the 2002-03 squad went 11-15.

 

Line Items

In the win over Idaho State on Thursday, three players had a perfect night from the free throw line and all had over five attempts. Sophomore guard Will Figures was 8-for-8, while sophomore forward Jefferson Mason went 7-for-7 and senior guard Sean Taibi was 6-for-6. Six times this season a Bear has been perfect from the charity stripe with at least five attempts.

 

He's Smart Too!

Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos was recently named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District VII First Team. His season on the court might be over due to a knee injury, but his name will now be forwarded to the national ballot for Academic All-America honors. Panagiotakopoulos is a business administration/finance management double major.

 

Each One Is A Record

Senior guard Sean Taibi entered the 2007-08 season already owning the Northern Colorado career record for three-pointers so each one he makes just adds to the record. He has made at least one triple in the last four games bringing his career total to 244. Had he spent his entire career in the Big Sky he would currently rank fourth on the league list, but he has managed to sink 116 in 46 games as a member of the league, which ranks among the top 10 for two-year players.

 

An Even Half Dozen

Junior forward Jabril Banks has now scored 10 or more points in six straight games, his longest streak of the season. Banks leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 per game, which also ranks him seventh in the Big Sky Conference. That streak is tied for the longest active streak in the Big Sky Conference with Jeremiah Dominguez and Scott Morrison of Portland State.

 

Youth Movement

Of the 120 possible starts this season (24 games, 5 positions) only 30 have been by members of the senior class. Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos led the way with 19 starting nods before his injury, while Terry Anderson and Sean Taibi have each started in five and Kirk Archibeque in one. The junior class has 47 starts, sophomores have started 18 times and freshmen have 25.

 

Numbers Game

For the fourth time this season, five players scored in double figures in the Bears win over Idaho State. The two leading scorers both came off the bench as senior guard Sean Taibi scored 16 points in just nine minutes, while sophomore guard Will Figures scored 14. Starters Jabril Banks (13), Taylor Montgomery (12) and Jefferson Mason (11) also each had double digits.

 

A Part of History

For the first time all season, more than two road teams won on the same night in conference play last Thursday. Portland State, Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington all notched road victories. It was the first road conference wins of the season for Northern Colorado and Eastern Washington.

 

The Secret Of Success

The win against Idaho State further enforced the point that the Bears need to score between 71-80 points this season. The Bears are now 4-0 this year when ending the game in that 10-point stretch.

 

Tenacious-D

In 13 of the 24 games this season, Northern Colorado has held the opposition to below 45.0 percent from the field. The Bears are 9-4 when holding a team to under .450 shooting.

 

Turning Up The Heat

With the injury to senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos, senior guard Terry Anderson has stepped up for the Bears. He has scored 24 points in the last four games after scoring just 16 points in the previous 13 contests. Against Northern Arizona, he notched a career-high 11 points and had six assists with just one turnover in the road trip over the weekend.

 

Stepping Up To The Line

Against non-conference opponents, Northern Colorado shot just .669 from the free throw line, but have improved that number to .720 in Big Sky Conference play. In eight of the 12 conference games, the Bears have shot over 70 percent from the charity stripe, including four games over 80 percent.

 

Read All About It

Junior forward Jabril Banks is this week's featured student-athlete on the Big Sky Conference website. Check out the transcript of his interview at www.bigskyconf.com.

 

Injury Plagued Class

Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos got bitten by the same bug as his fellow fourth-year seniors, the injury bug. Panagiotakopoulos injured his knee in the game against Montana and is out for the remainder of the year. Fellow seniors Kirk Archibeque and Sean Taibi have also suffered injuries this season with Archibeque missing 20 games due to a concussion, while Taibi has missed six games with a knee injury.

 

Thank You Fans

Northern Colorado is averaging 1,333 per game in attendance this season, the highest average in school history. In 2005, the Bears averaged 1,085 fans per game for the only other season in recent history where they averaged more than 1,000 per game.

 

Six And Twenty

For the sixth time this season, a Bear scored at least 20 points in a game when senior guard Sean Taibi poured in 26 against Northern Arizona. Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos went for a career-high 22 at Portland State, while sophomore guard Will Figures (20), Taibi (22) and junior forward Jabril Banks (21) all scored 20 or more in the season-opener against VMI. Taibi also had 24 against Sacramento State.

 

Making Them Count

Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason tied a school record by hitting all 10 of his free throws at Portland State, which is also the second best in the Big Sky this season (two others have made all of their attempts, but went 9-9 and Huff went 17-17 from Portland State).

 

Sky High

Several Bears have the top individual performances in the Big Sky this season. Juniors Jabril Banks and Robert Palacios and sophomore Jefferson Mason are tied for the best in the conference shooting 100 percent from the field (minimum five makes), and Banks has done so twice. Sophomore forward Jefferson Mason has the best free throw percentage after making all 10 of his attempts against Portland State. Palacios is tied for the best rebounding performance with his 14 against Colorado State and has the most steals in a game with his seven against Johnson + Wales.

 

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another

Freshman guard Devon Beitzel became the first-ever men's basketball player to be named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week, sharing the honors with Kyle Landry of Northern Arizona after the Bears' victory at San Diego State. Beitzel notched a career-high in scoring with 15 points and steals with four. He shot 7-of-12 from the field with one three-pointer and two rebounds in the 62-56 win.

 

Double, Double, Toil & Trouble

Of the 12 players who have seen action on the court this season, 10 of them have scored at least 10 points in a game (Monice Garrett, Kirk Archibeque). The Bears have five players on the team who are averaging between 7-13 points per game, led by junior forward Jabril Banks with 12.8.

 

Starting Off

Head coach Tad Boyle has now used 10 different starting lineups this season. Junior guard Robert Palacios is now the only player on the team to have started in all 24 games and 11 of the 12 players on the roster have started in at least one game with the lone exception being freshman guard Monice Garrett.

 

Milestones

Terry Anderson is now just seven rebounds shy of 100 for his career. Devon Beitzel is 11 points shy of 100 for his career, while sophomore Will Figures next three pointer will be the 50th of his career. Jefferson Mason is 26 points shy of 400 for his career and needs nine steals for 50. Taylor Montgomery is five rebounds away from the century mark, while Sean Taibi needs two for 300 and is nine points shy of 1300. With six more three-pointers he will also hit the 250 mark for his career.

 

Lucky Sevens

Twice this season, junior forward Jabril Banks has been perfect from the field when taking seven shots. In the season opener against VMI Banks posted an unblemished night, hitting all seven attempts from the field. He then repeated that performance at Denver. He has also made seven shots from the floor four other times (Denver, Colorado State, Bowling Green State, Montana). 

 

Leading The Way - As A Team

In the latest Big Sky Conference statistics, Northern Colorado leads the way in offensive rebounds (12.21), ranks second in steals (7.17) and is third in rebounding offense (35.0). In conference tilts only, the Bears lead in offensive rebounds (11.67) and are third in three-point field goal percentage (.373), rebounding offense (33.8), steals (6.92) and three-pointers made (7.83).

 

Leading The Way - Individually

In the Big Sky individual statistics, junior forward Jabril Banks ranks seventh in scoring (12.8), seventh in rebounding (6.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (.560), while Jefferson Mason ranks sixth in free throw percentage (.788) and Robert Palacios is fifth in steals (1.52) and offensive rebounds (2.26). Will Figures continues to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage (.508), while senior Sean Taibi is 10th in three-pointers made (1.89).

 

It's An Honor

Following the action on the court during the Air Force Classic, Northern Colorado had a pair players named to the All-Tournament Team in guards sophomore Will Figures and senior Sean Taibi. Figures averaged 19.5 point per game in the tournament while Taibi chipped in 16 points per game.

 

Postseason Eligible

The Northern Colorado men's basketball team is now eligible to compete in postseason play in 2007 after successfully making the transition to Division I. This year also marks the first year NC is eligible to win the Big Sky Conference Championship as well as compete in the Big Sky Tournament.

 

Picked Seventh/Eighth

Northern Colorado was chosen seventh by the coaches and eighth by the media in the Big Sky's Preseason Poll. The Bears received 19 points in the coaches poll and 56 in the media poll. The polls were also split with Weber State taking the coaches poll and Montana being chosen as the favorite by the media.

 

Scouting Johnson + Wales

Northern Colorado will be playing Johnson+Wales for the second time this season and it is the Bears final non-conference tilt.

 

In the first meeting, the Bears won 62-51 behind freshman forward Taylor Montgomery's first career double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds. Junior forward Robert Palacios also tallied a career-high seven steals. JW was led by Sasha Pate with 17 points, while M.J. Crespin tallied a team-best seven rebounds.

 

Eric Daniels leads the team with 15.7 points per game, while Pate averages 10.8. Andrew Baker garners 4.2 rebounds per contest, while Pate is right behind him with 4.1 per game.

 

Johnson + Wales is 4-16 on the season. They average 70.8 points, 29.0 rebounds, 7.0 three-pointers, 10.4 assists, 21.9 turnovers, 8.7 steals and 2.6 blocked shots per game. They are shooting .424 from the field, .331 from the three-point line and .667 from the free throw line. Opponents are averaging 80.9 points with 8.2 three-pointers per contest. They are also shooting .485 from the floor, .405 from beyond the arc and .720 from the charity stripe.