Big Sky Conference

Spight scores 40, Northern Colorado moves into CIT championship

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GREELEY, Colo. (March 28, 2018) – Senior guard Andre Spight erupted for 40 points to pace a hot-shooting Northern Colorado squad into the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT) Wednesday evening with a 99-80 semifinal victory over Sam Houston State at Bank of Colorado Arena.

En route to tying a school record 25th win, Northern Colorado (25-12) shot 59 percent (36-of-61) from the floor including a 56.7 percent (17-of-30) shooting clip from behind the arc to coast into Friday’s CIT Championship against Illinois-Chicago. The Flames defeated Liberty on the road Wednesday night, 67-51. Friday’s title matchup is scheduled for 5 p.m. MTinside Bank of Colorado Arena.

Northern Colorado’s Jeff Linder, left, coaches Jonah Radebaugh and Andre Spight/ by Brooks Nuanez

The Bears set the pace early by connecting on 11 of their first 12 shots in the first 9:02 of the contest. Spight, Jordan Davis and Jonah Radebaugh lifted UNC to an early 9-0 advantage to force a Sam Houston State (21-15) timeout just over two minutes into the game.

UNC opened up as much as an 11-point lead in the opening minutes before SHSU’s Chris Galbreath, Jr. scored 11 of the Bearkats’ first 21 points to pull the visitors within four at 25-21. The Bears stretched their lead back out to eight points before taking a 42-39 advantage into the locker room.

A jumper by Galbreath, Jr. at the 17:38 mark in the  second half gave Sam Houston State its first and only lead of the night at 46-45 before back-to-back three-pointers from Spight and a triple from Radebaugh put the Bears back in front following a quick 9-0 spurt in a minute span to take a 54-46 advantage.

UNC held all of the momentum the remainder of the half, leading by double figures for over 13 of the final 15 minutes of the contest to record the 99-80 victory.

Davis (18 points) and Radebaugh (14) joined Spight in double figures on the night, while Galbreath, Jr. paced the Bearkats with 24 points.

Northern Colorado guard Andre Spight (11)/by Brooks Nuanez

With his third 40-point game of the season, Spight moved into second on the Big Sky Conference’s single-season scoring list with 832 points in his final collegiate campaign. He needs just 14 points in Friday’s game to break the 52-year league record of 845 points set by Idaho State’s Dave Wagnon during the 1965-66 season.

Spight is also seven three-pointers away from matching the single-season record of 132 established by Weber State’s Jeremy Senglin last season.

The Big Sky will be represented in the CIT Championship for the third time in the tournament’s 10th season. Weber State (2013) and Northern Arizona (2015) have also made finals appearances with both teams losing in their respective championship games by single digits.

Illinois-Chicago enters Friday’s game with a 20-15 overall record, finishing third in the Horizon League this season with a 12-6 league mark.

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