Greeley, CO (Sports Network) - Led by a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds from Derrick Barden, the Northern Colorado Bears downed the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, 66-58, in a Big Sky Conference battle at Butler-Hancock Sports Pavilion.
Tevin Svihovec added 14 points and Tate Unruh chipped in with 13 points for the Bears (12-17, 10-10 Big Sky), who clinched a spot in their conference tournament next week and cemented their status as no lower than a fifth seed. Connor Osborne also added 11 points.
For the Thunderbirds (11-18, 8-11), Jackson Stevenett led all scorers with 25 points, as Southern Utah lost for the sixth time in the last seven outings. Southern Utah still remains in the hunt for a Big Sky tournament bid, but the loss put a damper on the Thunderbirds' hopes.
Northern Colorado connected on 54.5 percent of its field goal tries in the opening stanza, as it took a 34-26 lead into intermission. Southern Utah was held to just 39 percent shooting from the field, including 2-of-8 from 3-point range.
In the second half, the Bears shot 45.8 percent from the field and the Aggies made 43.8 percent. Both squads took eight 3-point attempts, with the Bears making just one and the Aggies hitting on two. Ahead by only four, 52-48, with just over eight minutes remaining. the Bears used an 8-2 run to finally pull away and hold on for the victory.
Northern Colorado outscored Southern Utah, 36-24 in the paint and 17-4 at the free-throw line.