The loss dropped the Griz to 7-8 overall, 2-4 in the Big Sky while Northern Colorado (5-1, 11-4) is tied atop the league standings with Northern Arizona and looks to be a solid front-runner.
UNC seniors Tate Unruh and Derrick Barden scored 20 points apiece, while junior guard Tevin Svihovec added 12 off the bench.
Unruh a 6’4, 180 pound SG possesses NBA 3-point range shooting as a spot-up rhythm type shooter who opposing defenses don’t want to lose in rotation or leave open. Unruh is a one dimensional player that shows promise to be a decent defender and the ability to score inside the arc at some lower professional levels. Physically, Unruh is slender built with a long wing span coupled with decent athleticism. He shoots 92 percent from the FT line on just 116 attempts for his career, so adding a penetration dimension to his offensive skill set is something he needs to develop for the next level. Depending on improvement is capable of playing in Iceland, Holland and Norway.
Barden a 6’5, 225 pound undersized PF, simply outworks and hustles opposing players with his physically well-built frame and tremendous athletic ability. Barden who finishes strong or above the rim, has a very good catch-and-face low post game, an excellent/quick back-to-the basket spin move on the left-low post, runs the floor extremely well and can defend the 1-4 positions. For his career so far, Barden has a 54.8 FG percentage (13.4 ppg) and is averaging 8.8 rebounds (403 total). Barden is good prospect for mid-level overseas professional teams and the NBADL.
Svihovec (6’2, 190 lbs) is a very athletic combo guard who has excellent court vision/passing skills who can finish in traffic and defend well. On his career, Svihovec averages 11.2 ppg (44.7 percent FG, 38.8 percent 3PT, 76.6 FT%) with three apg.
Montana’s guards – Kareem Jamar (6’5, 207, SR) with 23, Keron DeShields (6’2, 177, JR) with 19, and Jordan Gregory (6’2, 194, JR) with 17 – combined for all but 14 of their team’s points.
Montana continues to struggle with defense and rebounding as UNC shot 62 percent in the second half and 58 percent for the game. The Bears owned a 31-15 edge in rebounds and limited the Griz to a lack-luster 4 rebounds in the second half. UNC’s 11 offensive rebounds led to an 18-2 edge in second-chance points.
The Bears came out and quickly, raced to a 17-5 lead. But Jordan Gregory’s eight points sparked a 12-0 run for the Griz and got them back in the game. The Grizzlies scored the first five points of the second half to take a 44-40 lead.
But the Bears hit a wide-open trey off an inbounds play – which was the Bears’ third shot of the possession – and Unruh completed a three-point play to put them back on top, 46-44. UNC never trailed again. Northern Colorado’s bench outscored Montana 27-9 which proved to be a big factor in the win for UNC.
Eric Stang is a Correspondent and Scout for NetScouts Basketball. Thanks to Northern Colorado Athletics for the photo.