February 19, 2008

Men's Basketball Plays At Home For Final Times

Feb. 19, 2008

Weekly Release: Portland State, Eastern Washington Get Acrobat Reader

Games #26-27

Portland State (17-8, 10-2 Big Sky) at Northern Colorado (11-14, 4-8 Big Sky)

Wednesday, Feb. 20 • Greeley, Colo. • Butler-Hancock (2,734) • 7:05 p.m.

Eastern Washington (11-18, 6-8 Big Sky) at Northern Colorado

Saturday, Feb. 23 • Greeley, Colo. • Butler-Hancock (2,734) • 7:05 p.m.

The Series.......................... PSU................. EWU

   Overall Record.................. 0-7................... 0-4

   In Greeley......................... 0-3................... 0-2

   At Opponent...................... 0-4................... 0-2

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

   Last Meeting................... Jan. 19............. Jan. 17

   Boyle vs........................... 0-3................... 0-3

 

The Coaches

   Northern Colorado............ Tad Boyle (15-38, 2nd yr)

   Eastern Washington... Kirk Earlywine (11-18, 1st yr*)

   Portland State.................. Ken Bone (48-37, 3rd yr*)

   .................................................. *at current school

 

Radio

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

 

Audio Streaming

   KFKA............................................. 1310kfka.com

 

Television

   None

 

Video Streaming

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

 

Live Stats

                None

 

The Final Countdown

Northern Colorado plays its final two home games of the 2007-08 season this week as they host Portland State on Wednesday and Eastern Washington on Saturday. The game against the Eagles will be senior night, honoring the four seniors for their dedication to the program. Earlier this year, the Bears lost games to both teams in overtime, falling 91-85 at EWU and 85-83 at PSU.

 

Now Or Never

Northern Colorado holds its tournament destiny in its own hands. The Bears are currently in eighth place in the Big Sky Conference standings, but remain in the hunt. Only Portland State has secured a berth in the Big Sky Tournament and only Sacramento State has been eliminated from the picture. Five other teams in the league have either five or six losses in a tight race.

 

Series History

The Bears are looking for their first wins in the series history against both Eastern Washington and Portland State. NC is 0-7 all-time against Portland State and 0-4 against Eastern Washington and is 0-3 against both squads in Big Sky Conference action with each of the last contests going an extra five minutes.

 

Thank You

Prior to the game on Saturday, the four seniors on the 2007-08 roster, Terry Anderson, Kirk Archibeque, Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos and Sean Taibi will be honored for their hard work and commitment to the men's basketball team. Anderson played with the Bears for two seasons, while the other three were all four year players. Archibeque has played in just four games this year due to injury, but ranks among the career leaders in points, rebounds, blocked shots and free throws. Panagiotakopoulos' career was also cut short due to injury. He ranked among the league leaders in both assists and steals prior to being hurt. Taibi is the career leader in three-pointers made and attempted and also ranks among the career scoring leaders.

 

Another Milestone

The latest victory gave Northern Colorado 11 for the season, the most for the Bears since beginning reclassification to Division I in 2003-04. It also ties the 2002-03 squad, which sported a record of 11-15, but finished just 3-13 in North Central Conference play, whereas this year's team is 4-8 in Big Sky Conference action.

 

Taibi One On

Over the last five games, senior guard Sean Taibi has led the team, scoring 70 points (14.0 per game) while shooting .535 from the field and a red-hot .583 from beyond the arc (14-24). He has also made .909 (10-11) from the free throw line and is averaging just 19 minutes per game during the stretch. Taibi's next game will be the 105th of his career, which will tie him for 10th on the Northern Colorado games played chart with Kevin Knudson (1998-03). The school record for games played is 115 by John Olander (1988-92).

 

Non-Conference Recap

Northern Colorado wrapped up the non-conference season with the tilt against Johnson+Wales last Tuesday with the 84-65 victory. It gave the Bears a 7-6 non-conference record and a perfect 5-0 mark at home. It was also the largest victory for NC this season.

 

Stop, Thief

Junior guard Robert Palacios has 37 steals this season (1.5 per game) to rank among the Big Sky leaders this year. With two more thefts, he will also tie the Northern Colorado record since the team began reclassification. During the 2003-04 season Matt Kline recorded 39 steals.

 

Garrett Helps Out

Freshman Monice Garrett recorded a career-high six assists against Johnson+Wales on Tuesday evening, and now has eight games this season (of 22 played) with multiple assists. The true freshman also has a six-game streak with at least one assist and is averaging 1.5 assists per game and is one of three players on the team (Terry Anderson, Robert Palacios) with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio.

 

Box Out

Northern Colorado allowed Johnson+Wales only five offensive rebounds in the game on Tuesday and none in the first half. In fact, all five offensive rebounds went to one player, forward Andrew Baker. It was the 15th time this year the Bears allowed fewer than 10 second chance opportunities in a game. NC is allowing opponents just 9.7 offensive rebounds per game this season, while averaging 12.6 offensive rebounds to lead the Big Sky.

 

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 five games bringing his career total to 247. 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 119 in 47 games as a member of the league, which ranks among the top 10 for two-year players.

 

Banking On It

Junior forward Jabril Banks has now scored 10 or more points in seven straight games, his longest streak of the season. Banks leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 per game, which also ranks him seventh in the Big Sky Conference. That streak is the second longest active streak in the Big Sky Conference behind Jeremiah Dominguez of Portland State with eight.

 

Youth Movement

Of the 125 possible starts this season (25 games, 5 positions) only 31 have been by members of the senior class. Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos led the way with 19 starting nods before his injury, while Terry Anderson has started in six, Sean Taibi has started in five and Kirk Archibeque in one. The junior class has 49 starts, sophomores have started 19 times and freshmen have 26.

 

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.

 

Tenacious-D

In 13 of the 25 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 33 points in the last five games after scoring just 16 points in the previous 13 contests. He has started in all six games, averaging 6.6 points, 1.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists over that stretch.

 

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 21 games due to a concussion, while Taibi has missed six games with a knee injury.

 

Thank You Fans

Northern Colorado is averaging 1,297 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.

 

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 12.7.

 

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 25 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 six rebounds shy of 100 for his career. Devon Beitzel is just four points shy of 100 for his career, while sophomore Will Figures next three pointer will be the 50th of his career. Jefferson Mason is 17 points shy of 400 for his career and needs seven steals for 50. Taylor Montgomery is 13 points away from 150, while Robert Palacios needs four rebounds for the same mark. Sean Taibi is just eight assists shy of 150 and needs three more three-pointers for 250 in his career.

 

Leading The Way - As A Team

In the latest Big Sky Conference statistics, Northern Colorado leads the way in rebounding offense (35.4) and offensive rebounds (12.60), ranks second in steals (7.24) and is third in rebounding margin (+3.4). In conference games only, the Bears are second in rebounding offense (33.8), steals (6.92), offensive rebounds (11.67) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.373) and three-pointers made (7.83).

 

Leading The Way - Individually

In the Big Sky individual statistics, junior forward Jabril Banks ranks ninth in scoring (12.7), sixth in rebounding (6.1) and fifth in field goal percentage (.553), while Jefferson Mason ranks sixth in free throw percentage (.783) and Robert Palacios is third in steals (1.50) and fifth in offensive rebounds (2.33). Will Figures continues to lead the league in three-point field goal percentage (.478).

 

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.

 

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 Portland State

The Vikings are the only team in the Big Sky Conference to have clinched a berth in the league tournament and are winners of their last eight games. They are 10-2 in conference play and 17-8 on the year and will face Cal State Fullerton in the ESPNU BracketBusters Pool on Saturday.

 

Jeremiah Dominguez leads a trio of Vikings in double figures in scoring with 14.2 per game, while Deonte Huff is at 13.0 and Scott Morrison averages 11.3 per game. He also leads the club with 6.0 rebounds per game. Dominguez averages a team-best 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game, while Morrison is at 1.54 blocks per game.

 

Portland State averages 72.0 points, 34.0 rebounds, 8.6 three-pointers, 15.7 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 3.0 blocks per game while shooting .456 from the field, .373 from the three-point line and .692 from the free throw line. Opponents are averaging 67.4 points, 31.0 rebounds, 6.4 three-pointers, 13.0 assists, 15.6 turnovers, 6.9 steals and 2.1 blocks while shooting .447 from the floor, .354 from beyond the arc and .731 from the charity stripe.

 

Scouting Eastern Washington

The Eagles rank right ahead of the Bears in the Big Sky standings with a 6-8 league record and they are 11-18 overall and have won their last two games.

 

Kellen Williams leads the way in scoring (13.4 per game), rebounding (8.4) and steals (1.2), while Adris DeLeon, who exploded for a career-best 42 points in the first meeting against the Bears is second in scoring with 12.0 per game and leads the team in assists (3.2). Brandon Moore averages a team-best 0.71 blocks per game.

 

Eastern Washington averages 62.8 points, 30.3 rebounds, 7.5 three-pointers, 11.4 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 6.6 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. They are shooting .404 from the field, .343 from the three-point line and .724 from the free throw line this season. The opposition is averaging 65.6 points, 31.2 rebounds, 6.3 three-pointers, 14.8 assists, 5.6 steals and 3.5 blocked shots per game. They are also shooting .420 from the floor, .320 from the three-point line and .679 from the charity stripe.