The University of Northern Colorado men’s basketball team was sent home from the Big Sky tournament last week after an overtime loss to Montana.
The loss knocked them out of a postseason opportunity to the NCAA and NIT tournament and cutting the lights off on one of the best seasons in recent UNC history.
The lights were turned back on when UNC accepted a bid to play in the CollegeInsider.Com tournament. Spring Break then became spring work the guys and somebody had to pay for the heartbreak in Reno. Tonight, it was Drake University.
The Bears opened the Bank of Colorado Arena again to an 81-72 win behind Jordan Davis’s first triple double.
Davis had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to put him in class by himself.
Coming off two ESPN top-10 dunks in the Big Sky Tournament, the junior from Las Vegas could be described as one of the hottest players in the country.
The explosion and ability to get to the basket and finish opened up the floor for open shots. The triple double is the first in UNCs history and the first triple double in the Big Sky this year
“I think on one of my free throws Jonah or somebody was like ‘You need one more rebound and then you need two more assists,'” Davis said. “I told the guys on the free throws, let me go get the ball.
“The play to Tanner, we do that all the time. I know when I’m going down people are going to step up and take charges. T-Mo was always there so I just made a regular play that we usually make.
“It’s a big honor just knowing there’s been a lot of talented people that have walked through here. Just being able to have that for myself, to be the first, it’s a blessing. All I can do is thank God.”
The Bears defense came in handy once again. Former Big Sky defensive player of the year Jonah Radebaugh had the assignment of trying to contain Drake all-time leading scorer Reed Timmer.
Drake tried to get Timmer open any way it could, through off- and on-ball screens, but Radebaugh was there every time. Timmer finished with 20 points but it took 18 shots to do it.
Senior Tanner Morgan knew after missing two clutch free throws in the fourth quarter of the Montana game, he had to come out and have a great game. Morgan had his best game in a UNC uniform, notching a career high 19 points.
“Character bounces back. He’s, as good of a player as he is, he’s a lot better person, and I knew he’d respond the right way,” Bear’s coach Jeff Linder said. “Our guys did a great job of putting him in the position to get some of those easy dump-downs.”
The Bears now have to take the momentum on the road, as they face the University of San Diego Wednesday night.