Thursday, January 9, 2014

Eastern Washington and North Dakota Notch Big Victories

After taking a look at Northern Colorado's win over Weber State, let's take a look at the rest of the Thursday night action around the Big Sky.

Eastern Washington 69, Montana 62
The Eagles held Kareem Jamar to just 10 points and no assists, and they were able to get the ball inside very effectively, and that was the difference. EWU was led by Martin Seiferth, who had 21 points (10/13 FG), 12 rebounds (8 offensive) and four blocks on the night. He was outstanding. Meanwhile, Tyler Harvey was his usual self, with 25 points. Montana now has as many conference losses in three games this year as they did in the past two seasons combined. Needless to say, they have some things to figure. It's a big win for EWU, who have a chance to get back to .500 if they can beat MSU at home.

North Dakota 66, Idaho State 62
UND needed to come out and make a statement at home, and they did in a tight one against the Bengals. Though it was a battle to the very end, UND will take it. Jaron Nash was the star of this game, with 21 points and 8 rebounds, showing the skill set that he brings to the frontcourt. On a night when Aaron Anderson struggled and Troy Huff didn't have a great day, it's a good win for Brian Jones' club against a solid Bengals club. ISU was led by 24 points from Chris Hansen, but it wasn't quite enough as they fall to 2-1. They come to Greeley on Saturday.

Northern Arizona 75, Sacramento State 65
This was a close game at the half, but an early second half run gave the Lumberjacks a good lead that they wouldn't relinquish, as they improve to 2-1 and keep the Hornets winless in Big Sky play. NAU shot a blistering 11/16 from beyond the arc in this game, including as 5/5 effort from Quinton Upshur. The Hornets shot the ball well themselves, but they couldn't stop sending NAU to the foul line. The Hornets travel to take on Southern Utah Saturday night in a game that they simply cannot afford to lose.

Montana State 79, Portland State 76
The Bobcats continue to win close games, going on the road and beating Portland State at the Stott Center, which is never an easy place to play. The win moves the Bobcats to 3-0, meaning they join Northern Colorado as the lone remaining undefeated Big Sky teams. They hit 7/10 free throws down the stretch to preserve the victory. PSU's small lineup posed some problems for the Bobcats (the Vikings shot 55% in the game), but once again, the Vikings had trouble getting any stops. MSU shot 56% from the floor, and made 25 trips to the foul line. Four guys scores in double figures, led by Antonio Biglow with 15 points. The Vikings welcome Montana to town Saturday night, and with a loss, they could be staring down another long season.

Anything else happen that I missed?

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