Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Rest of Friday Night's Big Sky Action

While I was at the Northern Colorado vs Colorado State game, four other Big Sky games were happening. Let's take a quick rundown at what else happened in the Big Sky on Friday night.

Eastern Washington 80, Boston University 68
If you are not familiar with the Boston program - they are solid. The Terriers are a legit America East contender this year, so for the Eagles to go win by 12 on a neutral court is an impressive feat. There are no shortage of eye-popping numbers for the Eagles:

- As a team, they shot 21-39 on twos, and 10/18 from three-point range. They turned it over 16 times, but that will get corrected. They can score the ball in bunches.
- Drew Brandon's stat line - 15 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists. He is averaging over ten rebounds per game.. Oh yeah, he is their starting PG!
- Tyler Harvey drained five more threes tonight, giving him 20 makes through four games. He is a budding star in the Big Sky.
- Venky Jois is already a star for EWU, and he had 20 points and eight rebounds. After not making any threes last year, he had one in this game - adding that to his arsenal makes him that much more dangerous.
- Freshman Ognjen Miljkovic had 14 points and 6 rebounds in 26 minutes. It's an embarrassment of riches in terms of young talent for Jim Hayford right now.

EWU should be a scary team for the rest of the Big Sky to think about because they are so talented, but still so young. They are going to keep getting better and better, and they're already pretty darn good.

Montana State 59, Central Michigan 54
Road wins are never easy, and this one has to feel very good for the Bobcats. They clawed their way (no pun intended) to a victory in a defensive battle, winning despire shooting 21/54from the field and turning it over 12 times.  They won it with defense, which has been a struggle for them. They also won it thanks to the contributions of Terrell Brown off the bench. Brown had 23 points, hitting from the outside (3/7 3PA) and getting to the line (6/8). They will need those types of performances from different guys this year, as they don't have anyone they can count on to consistently carry the load.

The Bobcats were great on the defensive glass, especially Paul Egwuonwu (11 defensive rebounds). They held Central Michigan to just two offensive rebounds. That is getting things done.

Portland State 67, Loyola 63
The Vikings trailed by 14 points in the second half before coming back for a nice early-season win. They were sparked by 14 second half points each for Dre Winston and Aaron Moore, and another solid defensive effort. Moore finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 9/14 from the floor. Winston was 5/7 from the floor and 6/7 from the stripe, scoring a hyper-efficient 16 points.

Last note... I mentioned earlier this week that Tim Douglas was playing it well but turning it over a bit too much. He turned that around quickly, with seven assists to one turnover. Very nice game for him.

San Francisco 75, Montana 74
I'm not sure anyone would have predicted this chain of events - Idaho State goes on the road to beat San Francisco, and days later, the Dons come into Missoula and take down Montana. Basketball is a funny game. While Jordan Gregory did play (and pretty well), the Grizzlies somehow allowed USF to shoot 30/55 from the field, AND grab 14 offensive rebounds. Put another way, the Dons grabbed 45% of available offensive rebounds in this game, which is bad for Montana. Kareem Jamar did everything he could - 25 points, 8 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals - but it wasn't enough. The Grizzlies offense looks ok right now (1.12 PPP, though ISU had 1.15 against the Dons), but their ceiling remains limited right now until they can get some type of production down low.

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