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Big Sky Notebook

January 9, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big Sky Notebook

by Nicholas Lozito

Vikings get win in Big Sky opener

Junior shooting guard Kevin Briggs played all 40 minutes and scored 21 points Tuesday night as Portland State (3-10, 1-0) kicked off Big Sky play with a 65-52 win over Sacramento State (5-8, 0-1) in Portland. Point guard Jeb Ivey, who also played all 40, scored 19 points and dished out seven assists. Viking JuCo transfer Seth Scott poured in 16.

To say that Portland State is suffering from an incredible lack of depth in the backcourt would be an understatement. The Vikings only brought in one guard from off the bench, John Giannoni III, and even he played only played three minutes. If someone doesn’t step up, or head coach Heath Schroyer doesn’t sub somebody in, the Vikings will start seeing their ship sink as conference play gets into full tilt.

Sacramento State saw the return of forward Leo Cravey, who played only four minutes, from academic ineligibility. The senior should see more playing time as conference play rolls along. Guards Joseph Dawson and David Joiner along with forward Cedric Thompkins still remain ineligible. Derek Lambeth led Sac State with 15 points, while Jimmy White poured in thirteen against the Vikings. Sac State has now lost 49 straight Big Sky road games.

The game was tied at 44 with 7:05 remaining but Briggs hit a jumper to kick-start an 11-2 run for PSU.

Portland State came into Tuesday’s game coming off an 87-49 home loss to Gonzaga. Forward Ronny Turiaf scored 18 in the Bulldog victory. Sac State won at Lipscomb University earlier in the week, receiving 16 points from both Derek Lambeth and Emir Medunjanin. Hornet point guard DaShawn Freeman currently ranks ninth in the nation with 3.2 steals per game.

The Hornets will next play at Northern Arizona on Saturday night. Portland State will play at Montana State on Thursday night and at Montana on Saturday.

Little men out in Big Sky state

Montana point guard Derrick Mansell has been suspended for academic ineligibility, and did not play in last week’s games at Denver and Purdue, both losses. Montana State point guard Jason Erickson is out for the next few weeks with a broken wrist. Sam Riddle will take over the full-time point guard duties in Montana, while Frank Brown will play in place of Erickson.

Brown scored seven points with seven assists in a 60-56 loss versus Wyoming this week. Riddle played only 13 minutes and scored just one point in an 84-66 loss at Purdue. Both Montana State and Montana will host Eastern Washington and Portland State this week.

Gazing the Sky

The Big Sky Conference was 52-48 in preseason games coming into this week. They also carry a 4-4 record against the Pac-10 and a 7-4 record against the Big West.

Kelly Golob, last week’s Big Sky Player of the Week, scored 17 points and Kyle Feuerbach dished out nine assists as Northern Arizona (9-4) narrowly lost, 59-57, at New Mexico on Tuesday. The Lumberjacks beat Marist College and Southern Utah earlier in the week. Four Northern Arizona players currently average over 13 points.

Weber State (9-5) forward Slobodan Ocokoljic scored 17 points in Weber State’s 72-58 loss at Utah this week. It was Ocokoljic’s best effort since returning from an NCAA suspension three weeks ago. Weber State and Idaho State don’t start their Big Sky schedules until Jan. 16.

Eastern Washington (8-6) got back on the winning track with an 89-74 win at home against Portland this week. The Eagles, who many predict to win the Big Sky, had lost four straight coming into the contest. Chris Hester led the way with 28 points, while point guard Alvin Snow scored 13 with nine boards, eight assists and five steals. He is the best all-around player in the conference.

Game of the Week

Eastern Washington’s road trip to the Montana schools will be this week’s games of the week. Eastern Washington is expected to come out 2-0, but I predict a Montana victory. Prediction: Montana 64, East. Washington 60 on Thursday; East. Washington 76, Montana State 67 on Saturday.

Player of the Week

Kevin Briggs played all 40 minutes and scored 21 points in Portland State’s conference victory over Sacramento State.


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