Bodie Hume and Northern Colorado made sure to bury the reigning champions early, completing a Treasure State sweep in the process.
Hume, last season’s Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year, nailed a pair of 3-pointers and scored nine points as UNC opened the game on a 16-3 run. The 6-foot-6 wingman finished the game with five made 3-pointers and a team-high 22 points as UNC posted a 74-66 win in Greeley on Saturday night.
The win completed UNC’s sweep of the Montana schools. The Bears beat Montana State 68-59 Thursday. Northern Colorado is 2-1 in Big Sky play, 6-0 at home 9-4 overall after Saturday’s victory.
Senior Jonah Radebaugh had his second straight exemplary tone-setting performance defensively. He helped limit Montana senior Sayeed Pridgett, the preseason Big Sky Player of the Year, to 17 points on 17 shots as UM needed several made shots late to reach 45 percent shooting as a team.
Radebaugh also scored at the rim consistently, finishing with 18 points. The two-time Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year held Montana State all-league guard Harald Frey to five points on Thursday while also leading the Bears with 17 points.
Behind an outstanding scoring night by senior Kendal Manuel, the Griz rallied to cut the halftime lead to 32-31 despite falling behind by 13 points in the first four minutes of the game. Manuel, a Billings Skyveiw product, kept the Griz in the game all night with his array of mid-range jump shots.
Northern Colorado does as good a job as any college basketball team in the country at chasing opponents off the 3-point line. The Bears led Montana shoot 19 3-pointers, including a 3-of-3 performance from Manuel. The rest of the team went 3-of-16.
Manuel finished with a career-high 30 points, converting 13-of-16 field goals. But the early deficit was too much for the Griz to overcome as the team lost for the fifth time in a league contest in their last 46 against the Big Sky. Sam Masten scored 12 points and Trent Harris scored 11 for the Bears. Harris hit six free throws in the final two minutes to seal UNC’s second league win this season.
Derrick Carter-Hollinger scored 10 points off the bench for Montana, who fell to 3-1 in league, 8-7 overall. Following their first stretch of four games in eight days, UM is the only team in the league with three conference victories.