Record Breaking Season for UNC Men’s Basketball

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A historic season for Saint Thomas isn’t quite done yet.

The University of Northern Colorado men’s basketball team defeated the University of Idaho with a final score of 76-62 tonight at Bank of Colorado Arena. They cruised to the win, controlling the pace and leading for roughly 35 of the 40 minutes.  

The Bears took a 5-point lead into halftime. They played a clean first half, committing just two turnovers.  

Coming out of the break, the Bears ran a set that ended with Zach Bloch hitting a three, and from there they didn’t look back. 

They outplayed the Vandals down low, scoring 44 points in the paint to the Vandals 24.

Saint Thomas eclipsed a huge milestone tonight, becoming the first player in the history of UNC to score 500 points, have 250 rebounds and 100 assists in a single season. 

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“At the end of the day when you have the best player in the league it’s hard to take him out,” Bears head coach Steve Smiley said. 

Tonight, Thomas led the Bears with 20 points and eight assists, which tied a season high. 

It wasn’t just Thomas who moved the ball efficiently, of the 29 shots made by the Bears, 21 of them came off an assist. 

Brock Wisne added 19 points on a very efficient 75% from the field. 

“He’s a big part of our offense,” said Smiley. “I don’t know how you guard us.” 

Dejour Reaves added 13 points of the bench, his fifth straight game in double figures and 18th game of the season. Theo Hughes had seven points off the bench on 100% shooting from the field. 

Quinn Denker led all scorers with 23 points for the Vandals. Terren Frank and EJ Neal had 11 and 10 points respectively. 

The win propels the Bears into a huge final regular season game. They will host the Eagles of Eastern Washington University at 6 p.m. this Saturday at Bank of Colorado Arena. This match-up will feature the top two teams in the Big Sky Conference standings, who are also numbers one and two in scoring in the conference.  

The Bears sit one game behind the Eagles in the conference standings following their win over the Vandals, and Eastern Washington’s upset loss to Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks won 78-71 in Flagstaff. The Vandals will travel there next, playing at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Walkup Skydome. 

Saturday gives the Bears the chance to tie the Eagles for the conference lead and gives the Eagles the chance to give themselves some more breathing room at the top of the standings. 

“It’s for the number one spot, so that’s what my focus is on,” Thomas said. 

Thomas, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds in the Jan. 25th loss to the Eagles, looks ahead to the game knowing the double teams will come his way and that the Eagles will be trying to get him off the court.  

Smiley believes Thomas is the best player in the conference, and he has the numbers to back it up. The leading scorer, with 19.9 points per game, on the leading scoring team in the conference, 80.6 points per game, is also the leading rebounder in the conference with 10 a game. 

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