Sunday, January 6, 2013

Saturday Night Headlines

Break up Idaho State!
After watching Idaho State last Thursday, I thought the possibility was at least better than remote that they wouldn't win a Big Sky game all year. They hadn't scored 60 points against a Division I opponent, and it was tough to say where they were going to get scoring from. Of course, then they drop 86 in a convincing 86-63 win over Northern Colorado. Melvin Morgan led the way, scoring a career high 27 points, but Chris Hansen (19), Sherrod Baldwin (11), and Tomas Sanchez (11 points, 8 assists) all pitched in with solid scoring nights. UNC shot the ball well also, but the difference was that ISU made 15/28 threes while the Bears shot 6/16, and ISU got to the line a bunch more as well.

For the Bears, there continue to be more questions than answers. They are struggling to get consistency from anyone, as they drop to 1-3. They have the individual talent it seems to be a top 4 team, but right now they are playing like a bottom 4 team. Simply put, offensively right now they are a team that turns the ball over a lot, doesn't create second chances on the offensive glass, and struggles to get to the FT line. When they get there, they're shooting 64%. At this point in the season, they are not a good basketball team.

Break up Southern Utah too!
After putting them fourth in my last power rankings, someone on twitter told me that was ridiculous.  After a road win over Northern Arizona, they are suddenly 3-0 in Big Sky play. Like Idaho State, they had an offensive explosion that wasn't exactly easy to see coming. Guard Damon Heuir was the main threat, as he had 30 points, including shooting 4/6 from downtown and 13/14 from the charity stripe in the second half. Jackson Stevenett also had 14 points for SUU, while Julian Scott (in his first game back from injury) had 13.

The final was 90-77 but it wasn't exactly a free-flowing game. The teams combined for 58 fouls, and shot 76 free throws. Northern Arizona evened their Big Sky record to 2-2.

Montana State's season-saving comeback
In the second half, MSU was trailing Eastern Washington by 15 points, it didn't look like they had many ways to slow down the Eagles offense, which was firing from the outside. With a score of 50-35, Montana State simply played fantastic basketball the rest of the way, shooting 10/19 and playing excellent defense. Eventually, it was the Bobcats with a 70-68 road win that brings their record to 2-2 in the Big Sky, and gives them a huge homecourt stand.

It looked like we might be headed for a second OT, but for a great block by Flavien Davis. With the score at 70-68, EWU's freshman guard Daniel Hill appeared to have a clear path to the basket. All of a sudden, Davis came from nowhere to swat the ball at the rim. After a three-pointer from Collin Chiverton missed at the buzzer, it was jubilation for the Bobcats. The block from Davis was as good of a defensive play as you will see all season

“Flavien, man, he came out of nowhere for that one,” Huse said with a smile. “Talk about an impressive play for a guy — I haven’t seen his career stats — but that might be close to one of his first blocks. But that’s just a guy making a play when he has to make a play.”

Weber State and Montana roll again
These are the two best teams in the conference, and they continue to show it. Weber State hasn't been challenged yet in Big Sky play (EDIT: As a commenter pointed out to me, this statement is incorrect... because PSU most definitely challenged the Wildcats), and they dominated on Saturday night. They led North Dakota 46-21 at the half, and finished ahead 95-63. There were many stars for Weber State, so just a quick look at them. Davion Berry (20 points, 6 rebounds), Kyle Tresnak (22 points, 6 rebounds), Scott Bamforth (19 points on 7/11 FG),  and Joel Bolomboy (11 rebounds, 3 blocks). Everything was going right on both ends for the Wildcats.

Meanwhile, Montana notched their 17th straight conference win with a 62-55 victory over Portland State. Will Cherry led the way with 16 points and 7 assists, as all of the Big 3 (Cherry, Mathias Ward, and Kareem Jamar) finished in double figures for the Grizzlies. Portland State was led by Aaron Moore's second straight double-double, as he had 14 points and 11 rebounds. The Grizzlies led by as many as 17 points in the second half, as they improve to 4-0 in Big Sky play. PSU drops to 1-3.

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  1. Not to argue, but PSU gave WSU all they could handle.

  2. Great point, that completely slipped my mind.

  3. WSU almost lost; tough OT game.