In a league with more new faces than headlining returners, Jonah Radebaugh seemed to be the forgotten man.
The two-time Big Sky Conference Defensive Player of the Year has lived in the shadow of Jordan Davis, last season’s league MVP and the second-leading scorer in the history of the conference, over the last three seasons.
On Thursday in Greeley, Radebaugh re-affirmed his place among the league’s elite players by leading Northern Colorado to a 68-59 win over Montana State at Bank of Colorado Arena.
The UNC senior played all 40 minutes, leading the Bears offensively with team highs of 17 points and four assists. He also guarded Montana State star guard Harald Frey from stem to stern. The explosive, skilled southpaw finished with just five points on seven shots and missed all five of his attempts from deep. Frey also only managed one assist on a night the Bobcats only notched eight dimes.
MSU took advantage of mismatches in other areas — sophomore combo guard Amin Adamu scored a career-high 26 points — and the Bobcats made 14 of their 22 field goal attempts in the second half.
Adamu’s jumper in the paint nine minutes into the second half cut the UNC lead to 45-41. But Northern Colorado took a 36-26 halftime lead and held it to even it’s Big Sky Conference record at 1-1 (8-5 overall).
Montana State lost its first league game under Danny Sprinkle after sweeping Sacramento State and Northern Arizona over the weekend.
Radebaugh scored five of Northern Colorado’s final seven points. Adamu, who also had four assists and six rebounds, along with fellow junior college transfer Jubrile Belo helped Montana State stay in the game. Belo scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. But MSU managed just one offensive rebound and lost the battle on the glass 32-29. Kai Edwards grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for UNC.
Northern Colorado held MSU to 9-of-26 shooting in the first half and shot 50 percent to build the 10-point advantage. Bodie Hume scored 14 points and Trent Harris chipped in 10 as UNC won its first league game.
Montana State plays at Southern Utah on Saturday. SUU lost 60-58 to Montana on Thursday night.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.