November 13, 2007

The Bears To Play Against Hawkeyes And Pioneers This Week

Nov. 13, 2007

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Northern Colorado Basketball Plays Two Games This Week:

Northern Colorado's men's basketball team (1-1), after a steady first week at the Air Force Classic, will head to Iowa City to take on Iowa (1-0) (11/14) at 7:05 p.m. (MT) before returning home for the home opener against Denver (1-1) (11/17) at 7:05 p.m.

Scouting The Opposition:

Iowa: The Hawkeyes (1-0) are under new leadership this season with Todd Lickliter, the former Butler head coach, taking over ... Iowa went 17-14, 9-7 Big Ten a year ago and are off to a 1-0 start this year with a 58-43 win over Idaho State (11/9) ... senior Justin Johnson scored 21 points to lead the charge in the first game ... all Johnson's 21 point came from three-point range on 12 attempts ... freshman guard Jeff Peterson made an immediate impact in his first collegiate game with 12 points and nine assists ... senior center Kurt Looby pulled down 10 rebounds in the first game ... the Hawkeyes return three starters and six letterwinners from last year's team ... the returning starters include Looby, junior guard Tony Freeman and junior forward Cyrus Tate ... Iowa has been nearly unbeatable at home over the last three seasons with a record of 45-5 (.900).

Denver: The Pioneers (1-1) started their season with an overtime win over East Central (11/8) before falling to Oklahoma (11/9) ... senior forward David Kummer leads the team with his average of 13.5 points per game ... freshman forward Rob Lewis is getting 12 points an outing ... freshman guard Kyle Lewis is also averaging double-digits at 11.5 ppg ... junior guard Joe Jackson and Kummer are both averaging 6.5 rebounds per game ... DU is coached by Joe Scott, who is in his first year after having coach Princeton for the last six seasons ... the Pioneers return two starters and six letterwinners from last year's team

Series History: The Bears have never played against Iowa and trail Denver in the series 72-39 ... NC last took the court against Denver on Nov. 19, 2006 ... Northern Colorado fell to the Pioneers 74-68 ... Kirk Archibeque led the team with 17 points and eight rebounds ... Sean Taibi tallied 13 points and Will Figures chipped in 12 points ... the last win over DU came Dec. 11, 1993 when they beat the Pioneers 110-95

Team Conference Rankings:

Northern Colorado leads the league in field goal percentage (.514) and three-point percentage (.410) .... is second in the league in points per game (83) ... ranks third in offensive rebounds per game (38) and is fourth in three-point defense (.338) ... the Bears 16 makes from beyond the arc are the second most in the league ... NC's 104 points against VMI (11/09) are the most in the league this season.

Individual Rankings:

Sophomore Will Figures is third in the league in scoring (19.5) ... senior teammate Sean Taibi is fourth in scoring (16.0) ... junior Jabril Banks has yet to miss a shot from the field this season and is a perfect 7-for-7 ... senior Kirk Archibeque is third in the league in shooting (.667) ... Archibeque is also fifth in the league in rebounding (7.0 rpg) ... Panagiotakopoulos ranks fourth in assists (4.0 apg) ... Figures is second in three-point percentage (.625) and ninth in free throw percentage (.923).

First Week (Air Force Classic):

Northern Colorado opened the 106th season of the program with a 104-97 victory over VMI (11/9) ... leading the charge for the Bears was senior Sean Taibi who scored 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting and also led the team with seven rebounds ... junior college transfer Jabril Banks made himself at home with 21 points and six rebounds ... sophomore Will Figures had a nice game with 20 points off the bench ... for the game NC shot an amazing 68 percent from the field ( 34-50) ... the Bears then advanced to the championship of the Air Force Classic where they took on the host school (11/10) ... despite falling to the Falcons 71-62, Figures had his second outstanding performance of the season with 19 points and seven rebounds ... NC's Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos contributed 14 points ... Taibi also reached double figures with 10 points and team-high three assists ... on the week, Figures led the team with 39 points (19.5 ppg) ... Archibeque totaled 14 rebounds (7.0 rpg) ... Panagiotakopoulos tallied eight assists (4.0 apg).

All-Tournament Selections (Air Force Classic):

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

Notes From The Opener:

The 100+ points scored was the 69th time in the program's history that it has topped 100, but the first time in the Tad Boyle era ...the last time NC broke 100 was in 2005 against Colorado-Colorado Springs ... the over 100 total was only the 14th time since 1990 the mark has been reached ... the opening day win was the first for the program since 2000, when the team defeated St. Martin ... the 97 points given up by NC was the most since Feb. 17, 2004 when they gave up 110 to Rutgers ... this was the first time Northern Colorado has played and defeated a team from the Big South Conference ... the 104 points scored on opening day was the second-most scored in the program's history behind the 106 scored by NC against Palm Beach Atlantic in 1999.

Exhibition Recap:

Northern Colorado played their lone exhibition contest of the 2007-08 preseason against in-state rival Colorado School of Mines, defeating the Orediggers 92-79 on Nov. 4 ... junior transfer Jabril Banks led the offensive effort with 20 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting from the field, and also posted a perfect 6-for-6 game from the free throw stripe ... sophomore forward Jefferson Mason and senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos each chipped in 11 points ... the Bears had a strong second half to outscore Colorado School of Mines 59-34.

A Brief History Lesson:

The Big Sky is the fourth conference the Bears have been a part of over the years ... the previous conference affiliations over the years were: Rocky Mountain (1924-1973), Great Plains Athletic Conference (1973-1976) and the North Central Conference (1979-03).

Since the start of the basketball team, NC has used five different names to refer to the school ... the names went: Normal School (1901-10), Colorado State Teachers College (1911-35), Colorado State College of Education (1935-57), Colorado State College (1957-70) and University of Northern Colorado (1971-present).

Season Openers:

After the 104-97 win over VMI to open the 2007 season, the Bears are 8-10 in their last 18 season openers ... of the last 18 lid lifters 15 have been road contests ... overall the Bears are 45-59 with records not accountable from 1903, 1907 and 1909 on opening day.

Early Start:

The opening day start of Nov. 9 was the earliest opening day since the start of the program ... the previous earliest starting date for the program was Nov. 11, 2004 against Syracuse in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

1,000 Point Club Members:

Last season, seniors Kirk Archibeque and Sean Taibi became the 15th and 16th member of the Bears 1,000 point club last season ... Archibeque has now scored 1,165 points in his career while Taibi has totaled 1,140 points.

Taibi The Sharpshooter:

Sean Taibi comes into the season already holding the all-time mark for three-pointers made at NC ... he is 216-for-487 a .444 clip in his three-year career ... his 487 attempts is just 13 from breaking Sean Nolen's (2000-05) all-time mark.

Postseason Here We Come:

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.

Preseason Choice For Seventh By Coaches And Eighth By Media:

The University of Northern Colorado men's basketball team 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.

Who's Back:

Northern Colorado welcomes back three starters and eight letterwinners from last year's team that went 4-24 ... the three starters returning are seniors Sean Taibi, Kirk Archibeque and Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos.

The returners including the three listed above plus Will Figures, Terry Anderson, Neal Kingman, Jefferson Mason and Chris Kaba.

The Newcomers:

The Bears have added seven new faces to the roster this season.

• Jabril Banks-junior-guard/forward

• Devon Beitzel-redshirt freshman-guard

• Chris Deans-freshman-guard

• Monice Garrett-freshman-guard

• Taylor Montgomery-freshman-forward

• Robert Palacios-junior-guard

• Justin Wesolowski-freshman-forward

The Coaching Staff:

Tad Boyle (5-25, 2-14 Big Sky) returns for his second season at Northern Colorado ... Boyle brings back two of his assistants from last season in B.J. Hill and Shawn Ellis ... NC also welcomes graduate assistant coach Brian Tafel.

On TV:

The Bears will have three games broadcast on television this season ... NC's home game with Colorado State at 6:05 p.m. will be shown by Altitude Sports.

Northern Colorado, as part of the Big Sky's Sunday Game of the Week shown by Altitude Sports and Entertainment, will take on Northern Arizona on December 30 at 2 p.m ... The Bears game against Weber State on January 6 at 2 p.m. will also be shown by Altitude.

Double-Doubles:

Senior center Kirk Archibeque ranked tied for fourth in the league as junior with three double-doubles ... he tallied double-doubles: at Colorado (12/2/06) with 14 points and 11 rebounds; vs. Eastern Washington (1/4/07) with 24 points and 10 rebounds; at Sacramento State (1/31/07) with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Successfully Bombing Away:

Last season, Northern Colorado as a team ranked third in the league with a .388 three-point percentage (189-487) ... NC's 189 made three's were the fifth most in the conference ... Sean Taibi led the Bears and ranked fifth in the conference with his .456 three-point percentage ... Taibi's 82 made three's were the second most in the league ... the senior's seven made three-point shots against Denver (11/19/06) placed him tied for second in the conference last season ... Sophomore Will Figures also made seven three's for the Bears against Montana State (2/21).

Winning the Battle of the Boards:

During Northern Colorado's four wins last year, one of the keys for the Bears was the rebounding battle ... Northern Colorado dominated on the glass, outrebounding opponents by a combined margin of 135-108, an average of 6.8 more boards per game than its opponents ... in its 24 losses, the Bears did not win the board battle as they trailed 873-827.

A Marksman Difference:

In the Bears four wins last year, NC shot .571 from the floor (116-203) to their opponents .434 (95-219) ... in the 24 losses NC was outshot .461 (616-1337) to .408 (546-1337) .... the Bears also shot 53 percent from beyond the arc in the wins and 37 percent from three-point range in the losses.

Home Sweet Home:

Northern Colorado is 231-161 (.589) all-time at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion, which opened Feb. 4 1975 ... the Bears went 3-9 last season ... in home openers at Butler-Hancock the Bears are 21-10 after last year's 96-91 loss to UC-Colorado Springs.

What A Name:

Senior guard Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos has the longest last name (17 letters) of any player in school history ... the Phoenix product of Greek ancestry pronounces his name Thanasi (TH-nah-see) Panagiotakopoulos (Pana-Yo-Toe-CO-PO-los). His real name, however is not Thanasi but Athanassios.

A Pair Of Bears Named To Big Sky All-Academic Team:

The Bears had a pair of players named to the Big Sky Conference's 2006-07 Winter All-Academic Team ... the two selected were Terry Anderson and Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos ... in order to be selected to the team the chosen eight had to 1) participate in at least half the team competition; 2) achieve a 3.2 cumulative grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the conclusion of the completed term; 3) complete at least one academic term at his/her current institution.

Up Next:

The Bears now takes a break until after Thanksgiving when the team will take on Johnson + Wales on Nov. 27 at 7:05 p.m. before welcoming in Colorado State on Dec. 1 at 7:05 p.m.