After looking at North Dakota's road win over Montana State and Southern Utah getting the win to move into third place in the Big Sky, let's take a quick look at the other three games on the slate.
Northern Arizona 79, Portland State 72
After the first half, it looked like Northern Arizona might run away with this game, as they took a 51-35 lead into intermission. However, the Vikings jumped out to a 17-4 start in the second half, cutting the lead down to four before NAU (and Gabe Rogers) righted the ship. Rogers scored 25 points (including seven treys), while Stallon Saldivar had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Jacks. PSU got great efforts from their big men Renado Parker (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Aaron Moore (19 points, 11 rebounds) but it wasn't enough.
NAU moves to 6-7 in Big Sky play and will have a great chance to move to .500 with Eastern Washington coming to town Saturday. Meanwhile, PSU drops to 3-10 and look like conference tournament longshots at this point.
Montana 73, Northern Colorado 63
This was a game where Montana seemed to be in complete control the whole way, yet UNC managed to hang around for most of the ballgame, always seeming to be in that 6-10 point range. Kareem Jamar gave the type of performance that makes him arguably the best player in the Big Sky, with 18 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals. Jamar has to give BJ Hill nightmares, because it never seems like Northern Colorado can slow him down. Will Cherry finished with four steals on the night, and his 250 career swipes is third all time in the Big Sky. I am going to miss watching him play. Montana moves to 13-0 and tied the record for most consecutive regular season Big Sky victories with 24.
Northern Colorado got 17 apiece from Derrick Barden and Tate Unruh, but it wasn't enough, as they fall to 4-9. It's not quite a must win, but they could really, really use a win against Montana State on Saturday.
Sacramento State 61, Eastern Washington 55
Playing without leading scorer and rebounder Venky Jois (out again with an injury), EWU managed to keep things interesting thanks to their defense. EWU lead 48-47 late, but they just couldn't get enough buckets late to win. The Hornets got some big buckets late from Dylan Garrity, who finished with a game high 15 points and 6 assists. John Dickson also chipped in an efficient 13 points and 5 rebounds, which was big because Konnor Veteto was again hampered by a knee injury.
It was a big win by Sac State to move to 6-7, because the final six games of the year for them are brutal. Eastern Washington, meanwhile, falls to 4-9, and they are in trouble. They need Venky back.
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