Northern Colorado (1-3) at UC Riverside (1-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: SRC Arena (7,000) -- Moscow, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: Northern Colorado 1-1, UC Riverside 1-1. Away Record: Northern Colorado 0-2, UC Riverside 0-2. Neutral Record: Northern Colorado 0-0, UC Riverside 0-3. Conference Record: Northern Colorado 0-0, UC Riverside 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAMES NOTES: Both the Northern Colorado Bears and the UC Riverside Highlanders will try to put an end to three-game losing streaks when the two teams clash at SRC Arena Saturday night.
After a win in the season opener, Northern Colorado has not been able to find its way back into the win column after suffering its third straight loss to Colorado State last Monday. The Bears are now 1-3 including an 0-2 mark on the road where they have been outscored by an average of 13.5 points. This is the second of a four-game road trip for the Bears who continue against Northern Iowa next.
It has actually been worse for UC Riverside, which comes into this game with a 1-6 record. The Highlanders were last seen taking the court during the Great Alaska Shootout where they dropped three straight decisions. UC Riverside's only win of the season came at home against Division III foe Whitman College.
This game will be the first ever between these two programs.
In its loss to Colorado State, Northern Colorado managed to shoot just 42.4 percent from the field, while the Rams lit it up at a 53.9 percent rate. The Bears also had a 21-14 disadvantage on points from the free-throw line and had just one more total rebound (28) than the Rams had defensive rebounds (27). Derrick Barden and Tate Unruh each scored 13 points to pace the squad but combined to connect on only 9-of-21 shot attempts.
Despite its losing record, Northern Colorado has outscored its opponents, as it sports a +2.4 scoring differential, while putting in 77.2 points per game on 50.9 percent from the floor, the 12th best percentage in the country. However, those numbers are misleading as they are largely due to the 127-point effort the squad put up against Southwest in the season opener. The Bears also limit opponents to just 39.2 percent shooting. That type of production has not led to more wins partly because the Bears don't get to the free-throw line very often (71 total attempts). Tevin Svihovec (10.8 ppg) and Tim Huskisson (10.2 ppg) are the only two double-figure scorers on a team that has eight different players contributing five or more points per game. Unruh (9.8 ppg) and Barden (9.8 ppg) can obviously get to the double-digit scoring level, while Barden is the team's best rebounder.
Even though it shot at a respectable rate against Texas State, UC Riverside couldn't get itself into the win column due to its lack of ball security. The Highlanders turned the ball over 22 times which a 45.1 percent shooting effort. UC Riverside also wasted a considerable 41-26 edge on the boards. Chris Harriel had a team-high 16 points, but needed 17 shots to do so.
The Highlanders cannot boast of sustained offensive success this year. UC Riverside is scoring only 59.4 points per game, while connecting on only 41.7 percent of its shots from the field. Opponents are shooting 41.6 percent against them, yet the Highlanders still suffer from a -8.2 scoring differential. UC Riverside has been able to control the boards regularly with a +6.5 margin in rebounding. Josh Fox (11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) is one of the better scorer and rebounders on the squad but was relegated to the bench for the first time this season against Texas State. Harriel (10.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and Chris Patton (10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) also score in double figures.
While a glance at the team's numbers may indicate that Northern Colorado is the superior squad that really is not the case. The Highlanders have not fared well this season but should have enough to squeeze out a win here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UC Riverside 64, Northern Colorado 62
12/01 10:37:33 ET