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NORTHERN COLORADO USES SECOND HALF RUN TO BEAT MENâ€™S BASKETBALL
GREELEY, Colo. – Northern Colorado’s Devon Beitzel led all scorers with 16 points, and the Bears used a 14-5 run early in the second half to defeat Sacramento State, 79-65, in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Friday evening at Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
The Bears broke open what had been a close game with the 14-5 run that spanned 4:15 of the second half and gave Northern Colorado a 55-43 lead with 12:07 to play. Six different Bears scored during the run, and the Hornets would get no closer than within eight points of Northern Colorado’s lead the rest of the way.
No team led by more than seven points during a first half which featured six ties and saw Sacramento State limit Northern Colorado to a .367 (11-30) field goal percentage. Conversely, the Hornets shot 44.8 percent (23-56) in the first half, but still trailed at halftime, 34-31. After exchanging buckets the first few minutes of the second half, Northern Colorado went on its run and the Hornets never recovered.
With the loss, Sacramento State has now dropped three straight and six of its last seven games while falling to 7-13 overall and 1-6 in the Big Sky. Four of those losses over that seven-game stretch have come by five points or less.
Northern Colorado (17-4, 6-2) remained in second place in the Big Sky standings, a half game back of Weber State (6-1). The Bears, who are ranked 12th in the collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll, also improved to a perfect 7-0 when playing on its home floor. Northern Colorado has won five of the last six meetings with the Hornets and now owns a 5-2 record in the all-time series between the two teams.
The Bears, who are second in the league in three-pointers made per game, did nothing to hurt that stat in tonight’s game. Northern Colorado buried 11 three-pointers, including at least one from six different players, and finished the game shooting 44.0 percent (11-25) from beyond the arc. Nearly half of the Bears’ 57 field goal attempts came from the three-point line. Overall, Northern Colorado shot 42.1 percent (24-57) from the floor and 69.0 percent (20-29) from the free throw line.
Sacramento State shot for a similar percentage from the field (.411), but converted seven less three-pointers (4-for-15, 26.7 percent) and five less free throws (15-for-22, 68.2 percent) than the Bears. Over half the Hornets’ points came inside the paint (34), but the team had trouble knocking down shots from the perimeter. Sacramento state was also outrebounded, 45-32.
Three Hornets scored in double figures, comprised of seniors Justin Eller (14 points, eight rebounds) and Domineek Daniel (14 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals), and freshman John Dickson (13 points, two steals). All 13 of Dickson’s points came in the second half. Daniel or Eller have now led Sacramento State in both scoring and rebounding each of the last three games.
Eller shot 5-of-7 from the field, 4-of-4 from the free throw line, and all eight of his rebounds came on the defensive end. Daniel continues to play his basketball of the season. Over the last four games, the high flyer has scored in double figures in each contest and is averaging 13.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 1.5 blocked shots over that span.
The quartet of Eller, Daniel, Dickson and senior Michael Selling (eight points) combined for 49 of the Hornets’ 65 points. Junior Duro Bjegovic added six rebounds.
For Northern Colorado, Betizel’s 16 points came on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including 4-of-7 from the three-point line. He also added seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Will Figures had 13 points, six assists and five rebounds, and Neal Kingman chipped in 10 points and five rebounds for a Northern Colorado squad that converted on six of its 10 three-point attempts in the second half.
Sacramento State returns to action in two days when the team travels to snowy Flagstaff, Ariz., for a Sunday matinee at 12:05 p.m. PST. The area is currently being pelted by one of the top five biggest snowstorms in northern Arizona’s history, and the snow fall has forced the closures of numerous interstates and buildings in the area.
Sunday’s game is being televised live on the Altitude Sports and Entertainment channel (DirecTV channel 681; Dish Network channel 410). In addition, the game will be aired locally on a tape delay basis (7 p.m.) on Comcast SportsNet California (DirecTV channel 698; Dish Network channel 409).
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