Two of the Big Sky’s Top Teams Face Off on Thursday
Where: vs. Northern Colorado (11-4, 5-1 Big Sky)
Greeley, Colo. • Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion
When: Jan. 23 at 7:05 p.m.
All-Time Series: UNC leads 10-8
Where: vs. North Dakota (6-10, 3-3 Big Sky)
Grand Forks, N.D. • Betty Engelstad Sioux Center
When: Jan. 25 at 1 p.m.
All-Time Series: Tied at 1-1
Radio: KBTK 105.1 FM
Money Radio 1510 AM & 99.3 FM
Sodexo Lumberjack Radio Network
Play-by-play - Mitch Strohman
Analyst - Dave Brown
Audio Stream: www.BigTalkerRadio.com
Video Stream: www.WatchBigSky.com
Live Stats: www.uncbears.com and www.undsports.com
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The Northern Arizona (8-9, 5-1 Big Sky) men's basketball team will match up against Northern Colorado (11-4, 5-1 Big Sky) on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. MT. The Lumberjacks will then travel to Grand Forks to play North Dakota (6-10, 3-3 Big Sky) on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT.
Thursday's game will pin two of the league's top teams against one another. Northern Arizona, Northern Colorado and Weber State are all 5-1 in Big Sky play. NAU will face Northern Colorado for the first time this season, and will play Weber State next week. Northern Colorado and Weber State have already played each other with the Bears winning the head-to-head matchup. It's no surprise that when it comes to conference play, these three teams lead the Big Sky in scoring defense, scoring margin, three-point field goal percentage, rebounding defense and rebounding margin.
Northern Arizona is the only team in the Big Sky with two road wins. The Lumberjacks will be tested this week, as Northern Colorado is 4-0 at home in league games and North Dakota is 2-1. Senior forward Max Jacobsen leads NAU in road games with 15.8 points per game. Junior guards Quinton Upshur (14.3 ppg) and Aaseem Dixon (13.9 ppg) round out the top three.
Breaking Down Northern Colorado
Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado split the series last year with both teams winning on their home court. NAU is 2-8 versus the Bears in Greeley. UNC leads the all-time series 8-10. The Bears are tied with NAU and Weber State for first in the league. Derek Barden leads UNC with 13.6 points per game. The Bears have the top scoring offense in overall games with an average of 74.8 points per outing.
Breaking Down North Dakota
Northern Arizona won the last meeting in overtime, 74-72. The all-time series is split at 1-1. North Dakota is tied for fifth in the league after defeating Montana State on the road. UND averages 66.7 points per game, while Troy Huff leads UND with an average of 17.3 ppg and 8.2 rpg.
• The Jacks are on a four-game win streak that has propelled them into a three-way tie for first place in the Big Sky with a 5-1 league record. NAU is the only school to win two games on the road in conference play.
• NAU's win over Portland State on Saturday marked the first time NAU began Big Sky play 5-1 since the 2007-08 season.
• NAU stunned reigning Big Sky Champion Montana on Jan. 2 to hand the Grizzlies their first conference loss in Dahlberg Arena in 31 games. The win was NAU's third straight Big Sky opening win.
• Quinton Upshur leads NAU with 14.6 points per game.
• Upshur, Max Jacobsen, Aaseem Dixon and Gaellan Bewernick have all scored 20 or more points in a single game this season.
• The Lumberjacks were picked to finish seventh in the Big Sky Conference by the media and ninth by the league coaches.
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