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Big Sky Notebook

December 11, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Sky Notebook

by Nicholas Lozito

Hornets and Lumberjacks find success

The Sacramento State Hornets and Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have taken similar journeys so far this season. Both teams were expected to finish near the bottom on the pack in preseason polls. Both teams were spanked by highly-ranked opponents (No. 13 Missouri beat Sac State and No. 1 Arizona beat Northern Arizona) two weeks ago, and both teams rebounded this week with strong performances.

The Hornets (4-3) beat Northern California rivals San Jose State (72-70) and the University of San Francisco (62-57), while snapping a 39-game road losing streak with a win a Cal Poly (73-66). The Hornets were led by junior center Tony Champion and senior point guard Rashaad Hooks. Hooks, 6-foot-3, is able to penetrate opposing defenses and uses his size to finish around the basket. He scored a career-high 19 points against San Jose State on Tuesday. Champion, 6-foot-10, is still inconsistent, but his newfound tenacity will put him right up with Ryan McDade as one of the conference’s top big men.

When shooting guard Brandon Guyton begins to find his range, the Hornets will move into the upper echelon of teams in the Big Sky.

The Lumberjacks (4-2) recorded wins over Northeastern (71-56) and Western State (74-60) this week, increasing their winning streak to three games. McDade averaged 25 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two games, and continues to average a double-double on the season. The 6-foot-7 senior leads an offense which averages 79 points per game.

Freshman Kelly Golob’s remarkable 3-point shooting of weeks past has now come back down to earth. The 6-foot-5 guard made 4-of-12 treys in the two games this week after having made 15-of-22 in the three previous games.

Heath! Give the kid a break

You know that a coach is confident in your abilities when he keeps you in the game during crucial situations. When a coach never takes you out, he is most likely not all that confident with your backup. This is the case with Portland State point guard Jeb Ivey, who has played every minute – all 200 – at the point guard position for first-year coach Heath Shroyer. Ivey currently leads the Vikings in points (14.8) and assists (4.8).

After last year’s starting point guard, Aaron Fitzgerald, transferred to Washington State in the off-season, it was obvious that Ivey would shoulder most of the load this year. But to not take a player out over a five-game stretch is unfathomable. Candidates to give Ivey a rest, may it be only for a minute, are starting shooting guard Troy Devries and guard Kevin Briggs.

The Vikings have also played the last two games without starting power forward Marshal Hartman, who is day-to-day with a knee injury. Junior forward Seamus Boxley has also sat out the first five games due to torn ligaments in his hand. His return is undetermined, and redshirting the season is till a possibility.

In their only game this week, the Vikings fell the Saint Mary’s College (CA), 75-51.

Montana falls in Northwest battles

The Montana Grizzlies came out winless in battles against Gonzaga and Washington State, falling 75-67 to the Bulldogs and 73-61 to the Cougars. Montana sandwiched a 66-52 win over Montana Tech between the losses. Grizzly guard Kevin Criswell exploded for 29 points against Gonzaga, while all-conference guard David Bell was limited to seven, shooting 2-of-14 from the field. Bell is shooting only 34.9 percent from the field so far this season.

Game of the Week

Oregon State will face Sacramento State in 1,200-seat Hornet Gym on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Both teams are riding three-game winning streaks. The Hornets beat Cal Poly by seven on the road, while the Beavers beat them by 21 at home earlier this season. This is the Hornets’ chance to prove that they are for real. Prediction: Oregon State 79, Sac State 66.

Player of the Week

Northern Arizona forward Ryan McDade averaged 24.5 points and 13.5 rebounds as the Lumberjacks went 2-0 this week.

     

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