Northern Arizona (4-6) at Colorado (8-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 21, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Coors Events Center (11,064) -- Boulder, Colorado. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: NAU 2-2, Colorado 4-0. Away Record: NAU 1-3, Colorado 1-2. Neutral Record: NAU 1-1, Colorado 3-0. Conference Record: NAU 1-1, Colorado 0-0. Series Record: Colorado leads, 3-0.
GAMES NOTES: After a nine-day respite the Colorado Buffaloes return to the hardwood on Friday night to host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in a non- conference matchup at the Coors Events Center.
While the Buffaloes have been off the Lumberjacks have been busy with this game being their third in the last five days. Northern Arizona fell to Montana 62-56 on Wednesday. Overall the Lumberjacks are 4-6 this season including a less than impressive 1-3 mark on the road.
Colorado was in action last Wednesday when it earned a 50-43 victory on the road over Fresno State. Since then the Buffaloes have not had to worry about having their 8-2 record challenged. Colorado has traded wins and losses over its last four contests after starting the season off at 6-0. The only losses for the Buffaloes have come on the road to No. 9 Kansas and an undefeated Wyoming squad. Colorado has yet to lose in four chances on its home floor.
This game is the first between these two programs since the 1991-92 season when Colorado secured a 90-66 victory. The Buffaloes won the other two contests before that one and lead the all-time series 3-0.
Northern Arizona let a 33-29 lead at halftime slip away in the second half in its loss to Montana. The game was tied 53-53 with 5:49 remaining but a 5-0 spurt from the Grizzlies separated the squads as the Lumberjacks missed its final 10 field goal attempts. Northern Arizona shot just 35.2 percent in the game, including a 6-of-26 effort in the second frame. Gabe Rogers scored a game-high 16 points and nailed five 3-pointers but missed a pair of shots from beyond the arc in the final minutes.
Dewayne Russell (16.5 ppg, 4.0 apg) is the lead scorer on the squad, while playing the second most minutes per game (33.6) on the roster. Rogers (15.8 ppg) is the only player putting in more time on the court than Russell (33.9). The pair have combined to score 47.1 percent of the team's points this season. Max Jacobsen (7.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg) is the third option while Gaellen Bewernick (7.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg) is the top player on the glass. Despite having the offense run through just two players regularly the Lumberjacks have still managed to lead the Big Sky in assists (15.4 pg) this year. The real weakness is on the defensive end where NAU has been lit up for 75.6 points per game, while foes shoot at a 44.9 percent clip.
Andre Roberson absolutely dominated the paint to help Colorado bully Fresno State last Wednesday. Roberson scored a game-high 17 points and ripped down 20 rebounds which aided the Buffaloes who shot just 31.8 percent in the second half, while turning the ball over 18 times in the contest. Colorado played solid defense as a team and limited the Bulldogs to just 29.6 percent shooting.
For his efforts against Fresno State, Roberson earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. Roberson (12.1 ppg, 12.3 rpg) has been a beast in the paint for Colorado and is currently the third-most productive player on the glass in the nation. The junior forward had brought in at least 10 rebounds in eight games this year and posted double-doubles five times, including five of the last six games. The leading offensive options for the Buffaloes reside in the backcourt with Spencer Dinwiddie (14.7 ppg) and Askia Booker (14.2 ppg) each scoring at a relatively high rate. Josh Scott (12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg) is also scoring in double figures and contributing solid numbers on the boards. No other player on the roster is scoring more than 5.5 points per game for Colorado which relies heavily on its starting five.
Although depth is an issue for Colorado the Buffaloes still have a more balanced attack and more scoring options than Northern Arizona.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado 70, Northern Arizona 52
12/21 10:33:58 ET