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Big Sky Notebook

January 20, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big Sky Notebook

by Nicholas Lozito

Preseason means nothing

In the world of mid-major basketball, the preseason means nothing. Very rarely does a mid-major team, especially in the Big Sky Conference, get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament based on the teams they played in November and December. So, in the end, it all comes down to who takes the conference crown. Eastern Washington knows this better than anyone else, having lost in the Big Sky Championship Game each of the past two seasons.

The Eagles (10-6 overall, 2-0 in Big Sky) opened up their BSC schedule with a Jan. 9 match-up at Montana (7-10, 1-1). Eagle forward Marc Axton led Eastern Washington with 17 points, six rebounds and 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point range in a 72-62 win. The Eagles struggled at times during the preseason due to Axton’s inability to provide the team with a frontcourt scoring threat. Swingman Chris Hester scored 16 points while freshman guard Danny Pariseau scored 12. The backcourt tandem of David Bell and Kevin Criswell combined for 41 points and eight made 3-pointers for Montana.

On Saturday, Eastern Washington squared-off with Montana State (7-8) in Bozeman, Mont. Eagle Point guard Alvin Snow scored 15 points, dished out 7 assists and swiped 6 steals in the 65-51 Eagle victory. JuCo transfer Brandon Merritt led Eastern Washington in scoring with 17 points. Jason Erickson and Pete Conway were the only two Bobcats to score in double figures.

Eastern will host Northern Arizona and Sacramento State this week.

Guyton’s on fire; Hornets snap streak

Sacramento State may have just added the final piece to their puzzle this week: shooting guard Brandon Guyton’s jump shot. Guyton, who the team relies heavily on for outside shooting, made 7-of-11 shots from beyond the arc on Tuesday against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Guyton was shooting around 30 percent from 3-point land coming into the game. His newfound presence from outside should allow the Hornets more space for their swingmen to penetrate. Guyton scored no points in a double overtime win at Northern Arizona on Saturday. The 85-81 victory was the Hornets’ first-ever Big Sky road win, snapping a 48-game drought.

Vikings give Ducks a scare

Despite a 3-13 record, the Portland State Vikings (1-2 in BSC) have not backed down from Pac-10 competition this season. The Vikings lost to No. 19-ranked Oregon, 69-63, on Wednesday. Junior Seth Scott tore up the Ducks for 25 points and 11 rebounds, as the Vikings scored 36 points overall in the paint. On Dec. 17 Portland State lost to Oregon State on a game winning 3-pointer by Brian Jackson. They were two heart-breaking losses, but also two reasons to watch out for the Vikings in conference play.

Game of the Week

Weber State will get its first real test in big Sky play when Montana comes into Ogden, Utah on Saturday. The Wildcats are currently ranked No. 11 in collegeinsider.com’s mid-major poll. Montana is a team that is improving with every game under new head coach Pat Kennedy. Prediction: Weber State 74, Montana 65.

Player of the Week

Eastern Washington forward Marc Axton averaged 14 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in the Eagles road sweep in Montana.


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