There were four Big Sky games going on last night, each with varying levels of importance and intrigue. Let's dive in and take a quick look at all of the games.
Southern Utah 71, Idaho State 67
A season ago, it took SUU until their second to last game to get their first Big Sky win. This year, it comes in game four, as they held on to beat ISU on Thursday. Casey Oliverson was steady all game, with an efficient 19 points and 8 rebounds, while AJ Hess also hit some big shots, finishing with 14 points. The fact that the Bengals could only muster 1.00 PPP against an SUU defense giving up over 1.12 PPP is not exactly a good sign. If you wanted to put the Bengals at the bottom of the Big Sky as of right now, I wouldn't argue much.
Sacramento State 79, Idaho 76
This was the game of the night, with the Vandals leading for much of the way, but being unable to hold on down the stretch (they also got the short end of a couple of tough calls). The Hornets were led by Mikh McKinney, as the senior guard scored 27 in the second half en route to 32 points for the day. Cody Demps had 17, including some important points down the stretch, and he has come on lately.
Sekou Wiggs led Idaho with 22 points, and though I thought he took a couple of ill-advised threes down stretch, he was excellent. He could be the best player in the Big Sky at attacking the hoop. In the long run, a tough road loss to a good team shows that Idaho is a legitimate contender to be the second best team in the Big Sky. Even though they lost, they really impressed.
One final note... near the end of the game, Perrion Callandret absolutely threw down a vicious dunk over Eric Stuteville, but the broadcast didn't show the replay! If you have video of that, please send it my way!
Eastern Washington 92, Portland State 85
EWU was in control for most of the game, and I'm not sure things were as close as the score indicates. The Eagles got another nice day from freshman big man Bogdan Bliznyuk, who had 18 very efficient points. Three others were in double figures, led by 23 from Tyler Harvey. The big news for EWU out of this game is that Venky Jois was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury after nine minutes. Jim Hayford said after the game it's too early to tell much... and that Jois thinks he'll be fine, but they'll just have to see how he feels over the next couple of days.
For PSU, it's another disappointing defensive effort, albeit against a great offensive team. That overshawdowed their own excellent offensive showing, especially from guard Gary Winston, who is out of whatever early season slump he was in. The Vikings are now 2-3, and need to hold home court against Idaho, which is no sure thing.
Weber State 74, Northern Arizona 65
It was an impressive game from Weber State, who seemed to be able to answer all of the Lumberjacks runs in this game. It was a battle of PGs in this game, as Jeremy Senglin had 25 points and five assists, while NAU guard Kris Yanku had 27 points and eight rebounds. The difference in this game was that NAU's other perimeter scorers were completely held in check. Aaseem Dixon was scoreless on eight shots, while it took Quinton Upshur 14 shots to score 14 points. Needless to say, NAU can't beat the best Big Sky teams when those two guys play like that.
Weber is now 3-2, and looking at the schedule, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them reel off a few straight wins. They seem to be getting better each game, especially the young guards, and they have as much talent as anyone in the Big Sky, including EWU. Keep your eye on the Wildcats.
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