Published: Friday, November 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 02:11
This Saturday, the UNC men’s basketball team begins the season battling against Southwest (N.M.).
After its 99-61 exhibition victory Tuesday versus University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, the University of Northern Colorado is optimistic it is ready to make a major improvement in the season ahead.
“Were trying to make a statement that we’re a different team from last year,” sophomore forward Brenden Keane said. “We’re definitely more mature then we were last season, and we want it to be known that we’re an all-around team, offensively and defensively .”
The Bears are looking to dominate the game in all phases when playing the Mustangs, especially in the paint with their now-experienced forwards also keeping the game at a high pace.
“We want to push the ball — we want it to be fast; we want to get out and in for sure,” Keane said. “When we get into the half-court offense, we definitely want to take our time and not have any stupid turnovers — just run our offense, and we should be able to score easily.”
The confidence level around the team is high, and that starts with head coach B.J. Hill.
“We’re talented enough that if we play right, there are not a lot of teams on our schedule that we can’t play with,” Hill said. “I’m more worried about our guys growing up and maturing mentally because when we are tuned in, we’re pretty good, so I’m more worried about us.”
From the game Tuesday, UNC looked sharp, limiting their turnovers and trying to express itself as a potentially powerful team.
“I’m trying to build on the habits that we need to be successful,” Hill said. “We want to play right — that’s a key phrase we’ve been using with this team. We want to defend, we want to rebound, we want to take care of the basketball.”
UNC has grown at all positions this year, allowing for an interesting outlook for what will be displayed on the hardwood Saturday.
“This is new beginnings for us — creating a culture that is dominate in the Big Sky is the goal,” sophomore guard Tim Huskisson said. “Keane and (Connor) Osborne are two guys that know the game of basketball very well and do their part to get us guards open where we can catch and look down in the post for points.”
Game time is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Satruday at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.