There were a slew of bracket-busting upsets on the real day one of the NCAA men's basketball tournament -- damn you, Louisville! -- but the University of Northern Colorado Bears weren't part of one. UNC fell to San Diego State 68-50 in their first Big Dance foray. But through two-thirds of the game, the Bears hung tough, thanks in large part to Devon Beitzel.
Earlier this week, we suggested that the Bears had a least a ghost of a chance to unseat the Aztecs if Beitzel, UNC's version of Jimmer Fredette, took over -- and he certainly tried to do so. Coming out of halftime with the Bears staring at a six point deficit, he put up eleven quick points to pull the Northern Colorado crew to within three points. (He wound up with 25 points -- half the Bears' total.) Suddenly, UNC fans dared to dream.
This was the point at which San Diego State had to prove its mettle -- and the squad certainly did. A thirteen-point run later, the game was basically over.
No, the final score wasn't that close, especially in light of all the buzzer beaters yesterday. But Northern Colorado players still acquitted themselves well. The result? A definite boost for a program that continues to build toward better things.
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