Luckily, the road doesn't go on forever (sorry Robert Earl Keen) but it does continue in the near term for San Jose State basketball. On Monday, the Spartans face Big Sky Conference member Northern Colorado -- make that the 9-3 Bears.
Based 49 miles north-northeast of Denver, the University of Northern Colorado squad has a built-in advantage simply by being 4,600 feet above sea level. No, oxygen is not supplied to opponents at the benches a la those type of misters used by football teams on steamy days.
SJSU won the game between these two teams last season, 89-78. Adrian Oliver played in his first game for the Spartans in the contest played at the Civic Auditorium. San Jose State shot 67% to Northern Colorado's 55%. Backcourter Devon Beitzel bedeviled SJSU for 27 points on 12-14 shooting.
UNC is primarily a guard-oriented team, offering a lot of middle and long-distance shooting.
For what it's worth, both the Big Sky coaches and media placed the Bears sixth in pre-season polling.
NC Schedule To Date
Nov. 13 vs. McNeese St. @ Honolulu, Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 101-73
Nov. 15 vs. Southern Utah @ Honolulu, Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 73-51
Nov. 16 at Hawaii/Rainbow Classic W, 81-75
Nov. 20 vs. Texas Southern @ Air Force Academy, Colo. W, 66-62
Nov. 21 at Air Force W, 70-46
Nov. 27 at North Dakota W, 70-63
Dec. 1 Colorado State W, 70-63
Dec. 4 at Montana State L, 87-63
Dec. 5 at Montana W, 59-48
Dec. 12 vs. Wyoming @ Casper, Wyoming L, 76-70
Dec. 16 La.-Monroe W, 95-84
Dec. 19 at Oklahoma L, 80-79
The Bear Starting Five
6-foot-7 Taylor Montgomery - 8.8 and 4.3 points and rebounds a game respectively.
6-foot-8 Mike Proctor - 8.2 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds while shooting 59% on the season.
6-foot-1 Devon Beitzel - the second leading points producer at 13.7 a contest, 2.3 assists each time out, tops with 28 steals.
5-foot-9 Will Figures - the leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, he's a scorer more than a shooter but is hitting 20-50 from long distance, 2.8 assists a contest is tied for team lead.
6-foot-1 Yahosh Bonner - shooting 45% on his treys(13-29) but just 41% overall, very good defender, tied for lead in assists, he also sings the National Anthem at times before home games, Bonner was named the MVP in the Rainbow Classic.
The Primary UNC Reserves
6-foot-8 Chris Kaba
6-foot-7 Neal Kingman
6-foot-1 Elliott Lloyd - 12-26 on his three-point attempts
The UNC Roster by position
Kevin Hanes C Freshman 6-10 200 (betcha he looks good in shorts)
Connor Osborne C Freshman 6-9 250
Emmanuel Addo F/C Freshman 6-8 215
Hauns Brereton F Freshman 6-6 205
Ben Jenkins F/C Senior 6-9 240 (Golden, CO - we best not leave a comment here)
Chris Kaba F Junior 6-8 185
Neal Kingman F Junior 6-7 220
Taylor Montgomery F/C Junior 6-7 235
Mike Proctor F/C Sophomore 6-8 225
Travess Armenta G Junior 6-0 190
Dave Arnold G Freshman 6-1 200
Mike Bedford G/F Freshman 6-4 175
Devon Beitzel G Junior 6-1 180
Yahosh Bonner G Senior 6-1 215
Will Figures G Senior 5-9 155
Lee Hall G Sophomore 5-8 155
Elliott Lloyd G Freshman 6-1 165
Tate Unruh G Freshman 6-2 155 (Branson, MO - meaning he can probably sing a bit, too)
What To Expect
* Northern Colorado is averaging 75 points per game so look for scoring in this contest-- the Bears are also out-shooting opponents from the floor and the foul line.
* Bear fans stormed the court when UNC topped rival Colorado State on December 1 so they take their hoops serious in Greeley.
* Northern Colorado won the Rainbow Classic earlier this year on the road when Hawaii fell to the Bears.
* UNC is coming off an 80-79 road loss to Oklahoma where the Bears out-boarded the Sooners 40-31, shot 47% for the game and 41% from three-point range.
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Kevin McCarthy is the Basketball Editor for Inside Sparta. You may contact Kevin with any questions, comments, or tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
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