Friday, January 4, 2013

Weber State and Montana Still Atop Big Sky Pecking Order

Like last year, there is one thing we know in the Big Sky - it's Montana and Weber State up top, and then everyone else below. We already knew this, but it was reinforced on Thursday night.

Weber State got the biggest win of the night, as Northern Colorado came to the Dee Events Center and got blown out by the Wildcats, 79-54. The Wildcats never trailed in the game, jumping out to an early 7-0 lead and never looking back.

The charge was led by Scott Bamforth, the senior guard who is really rounding into form. He scored 22 points in 22 minutes on 8/14 shooting, and is now looking like the guy that most projected to be an all-conference player. Beyond him, as is their key, there was a ton of balance. Eight other players scored, and they had 17 assists on 30 buckets. They have so many guys that can hurt you in so many ways, they must be extremely difficult to gameplan for.

Northern Colorado was hoping to be competitive in this game, but they came out like they were still thinking about how they lost at the end to Southern Utah. UNC turned it over 21 times and couldn't get stops, as Weber State shot 57% in the first half. They are a year older, but are plagued by the same issues that derailed last season.


On the other side, Eastern Washington made things interesting for awhile, but Montana pulled away in the second half for an 81-66 win.

Showing that the Grizzlies have some depth of their own, they were led in scoring by Jordan Gregory and Spencer Coleman. Gregory had 17 points on 6/7 shooting, while Coleman had 15 points and 5 rebounds. Those two guys are huge for them, so if they can get consistent production from both, the Big Sky race will be very fun to watch.

Will Cherry struggled shooting the ball, but found other ways to contribute. He had nine assists, and sparked a defense that allowed EWU to shoot just 4/16 from beyond the arc.

“A big part of our focus was to take that away from them, their attempts and their makes,” Tinkle said. “I wish we would have shored it up on the inside a little bit because they kind of did whatever they wanted in there in the second half. A big key for us was to hold them under five or six threes and we did that.”
Eastern Washington was playing with starting PG Justin Crogsile, who is no longer part of the team. From Jim Hayford, via Bob Meseroll:

“Justin is not a part of our team but it’s too early for me to make any additional comment,” EWU coach Jim Hayford said of the transfer from St. Joe’s.
I will try to find out more, but safe to say that the loss of Crogsile is a big blow on the court. It must be a big blow off the court as well, as he sat out last year as a redshirt and is apparently off the team now as conference play is just beginning.

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