Johnson II’s last second steal, free throws lead Bears over Eastern Washington
UNC men’s basketball defeated Eastern Washington 78-76
By Ryan Pfeifer, UNCBears.com
Box Score Attached
GREELEY, Colo. – Matty Ice! A steal and subsequently getting foul with 1.7 seconds left by Matt Johnson II secured a 78-76 win for Northern Colorado over Eastern Washington Thursday night. Johnson II’s free throws put the Bears over the top to improve to 8-6 on the year and 5-4 in Big Sky play.
Johnson II and teammate Daylen Kountz finished the game with 22 points each and hit six of the team’s 13 three-pointers on the night.
The three-point shot was a difference-maker for the Bears. Tre’Shon Smoots led the team with five makes from behind the arc leading to 15 points. He also dished out a career-best six assists.
UNC jumped out to a 47-38 lead at the break and was up by as much as 11 with [13:20] left in the game, but Eastern Washington swung the momentum with a 14-3 run to tie the game at 65.
Over the final [7:47], it was an intense see-saw battle with neither team leading by more than three.
Smoots fifth and final three of the night was a key one to tie the game up at 72.
Both teams had chances to take the lead inside the final minute of play, but could not take advantage until Johnson II stopped Jacob Davidson’s drive forcing him to a double team with Bodie Hume who poked the ball away and Johnson II grabbed and then was fouled.
What They Said
Stat of the Game
It was bombs away once again for UNC as they made 13 three-pointers in the win. UNC is averaging 12 made threes over their past three games.
– Daylen Kountz hit a career-best four three-pointers on his way to a 22 points, four rebounds, two steals game.
– While scoring a career-high 22 points, Matt Johnson II also had four assists, five rebounds and that all-important one steal.
– Freshman Jamel Melvin matched his career-high in rebounds with six.
– Bryce Kennedy saw a career-high in minutes with [12:57]. He recorded a pair of assists and rebound during that time.
– Bodie Hume scored in double figures for the seventh straight game finishing with 10 points. He enters Saturday nine points away from becoming the 23rd Bear in program history to score 1,000 for his career.
– The win snaps a three-game losing streak to the Eagles.
Around the Big Sky
Montana State stayed undefeated in Big Sky play with a 62-51 win at Northern Arizona. Meanwhile, Montana picked up a road win at Sacramento State and Weber State held serve on its home court against Southern Utah.
Northern Colorado looks to pick up its second straight sweep of the Big Sky season on Saturday. The Bears will be having a Gold Rush for their noon tip-off.
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