Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rest of the Big Sky: Chaos Continues

Really, there hasn't been a lot we can count on in the Big Sky so far this year. The list is as follows:

- Montana will win anywhere except Ogden.
- Weber State will win anywhere except in Montana.
- Everyone else will beat everyone else at random.

So it went again today. Montana and Weber State won again, so they are still in a battle for the top spot. Other than that... the last place team beat the third place team, and the ninth place team beat the other third place team. Ho hum.

Northern Arizona kicked off the day with an OT win over North Dakota. They got big plays down the stretch from DeWayne Russell, who hit some key baskets at the end of regulation going to the basket. In overtime, Gabe Rogers hit big shots. Troy Huff had 19 points and 11 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the last 17 minutes of the game. Aaron Anderson led the team with 24 points, including three threes, but it wasn't enough.

It was a big win for NAU, as it moved them to 7-9 and part of the tie for fifth. North Dakota falls to 8-8, but they are still tied for third.

They are tied for third because Eastern Washington took down Southern Utah in a chippy game on Saturday afternoon. The game featured four technical fouls, a flagrant foul and an ejection before the Eagles outlasted Southern Utah 86-72. SUU point guard Damon Heuir got ejected early in the second half in this game.

Beyond the chippiness, EWU played perhaps their best offensive game of the year. They shot 54% from the field and got to the line 37 times (though they missed 15). They had great balance, with four guys in double figures, led by 18 from Collin Chiverton. When things are clicking, they have a lot of weapons, and they showed it. On the other side, Jackson Stevenett had 26 for the Thunderbirds and AJ Hess had 24, but nobody else had more than five.

EWU is now 6-9 in the Big Sky and suddenly very much a factor in the conference tournament race. SUU is 8-8, and while they still look like a good bet to go to the conference dance, things are less sure than they used to be.

Quick notes on the last couple games... Montana survived a scare but got past Idaho State 61-54 in Pocatello. Will Cherry had 10 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and three steals, giving him 258 career steals, second all-time in the Big Sky. Three other Grizzlies were in double figures.

Weber State avenged their loss to Montana State, with the 69-61 win. The final margin was only eight, but it sounds like the Wildcats had things in hand for most of the second half. MSU cut the lead to three with 17 minutes left, but WSU followed that with a 15-2 run. The Wildcats shot 64% from the floord, led by 21 points and 5 assists from Davion Berry.

Montana State is now apart of the 7-9 party, while Weber State keeps hoping that Montana will get knocked off.

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