Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Northern Colorado: 2018 College Insider Tournament Champions

The University of Northern Colorado will have to make some extra room in its trophy case at Bank of Colorado Arena.

The trophy that the Bears' men's basketball team earned from winning Friday afternoon's CollegeInsider.com postseason tournament is bigger than usual.

In fact, it's made out of solid wood.

The Bears let 6-foot-9 redshirt senior Tanner Morgan hoist the trophy above the fans who stormed the floor after the victory.

"He's the tallest," said senior Andre Spight, whose career ended with a 23-point performance.

UNC's title comes two years after being hit with NCAA infractions for violations committed by the former coaching staff, and included not participating in postseason play last season.

"It doesn't make any difference," redshirt sophomore guard Jonah Radebaugh said. "We just kept working and kept winning."

The Bears needed a strong defensive effort in the final two minutes to secure the victory over the Flames, who traveled for all three of their CIT games.

"Nobody complained, not once," UIC coach Steve McClain said. "We went on the road for the first one, and the second one when it was announced we'd have to come here, we got ready."

McClain is close friends with UNC golf coach Roger Prenzlow, who called him to inform him that a sellout crowd was expected.

"I said 'great,' McClain said. "We've gone on the road and played in front of huge crowds and won in Oakland and we've been on television in front of big crowds before."

UIC senior forward Tai Odiase said UNC's overflow crowd was as much of an inspiration to the Flames as it was the Bears.

"It was great," Odiase said.

The Flames were set to retrace their travel path to get home, including a four-hour flight to Washington, D.C., followed by a three-hour bus ride to Chicago.
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