Big Sky men’s hoops notebook

Following is a look around Big Sky Conference men’s basketball by Jon Kasper, the conference’s assistant commissioner. Kasper used to write for the Missoulian, where he covered University of Montana sports for several years.

This Week’s Sky Highlights
Sixteen games are on this week’s men’s basketball schedule…The 4-1 Sacramento State Hornets gun for their fifth straight win on Tuesday night as it plays host to Dominican. The Hornets are back in action on Saturday at Arizona State of the Pac-12…Montana puts its 3-1 record on the line on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City when it battles Brigham Young on a neutral court at Energy Solutions Arena. Montana is at San Francisco of the WCC on Friday…North Dakota hits the road to face South Dakota State on Wednesday in its only game of the week…Weber State treks to Dayton to face the always-tough Flyers…Northern Arizona heads to Tucson to face Arizona of the Pac-12 on Wednesday, before playing its first home game of the season on Saturday against Sam Houston State…Idaho State plays its first home game of the season Thursday against UM Western, while Montana State plays host to Pepperdine. Also on Thursday, Southern Utah is at TCU. Southern Utah is home on Saturday against San Diego Christian…Eastern Washington’s lone game of the week is its home opener on Friday against Cal State Fullerton…Montana State is at home on Saturday at noon against San Jose State…Portland State travels to Loyola Marymount on Saturday, while Northern Colorado is at UC Riverside.

This Week’s Sky Schedule
Tuesday, Nov. 27……………………………………………………….. Time
Dominican at Sacramento State (Big Sky TV)………………… 7:05
Wednesday, Nov. 28…………………………………………………. Time
Montana vs. BYU (Salt Lake City) (BYU-TV)………………….. 7:05
North Dakota at South Dakota State (Mid-Co Sports)……. 7:05
Weber State at Dayton (WHIO)………………………………………. 7:05
Northern Arizona at Arizona (Pac-12 Network)………………. 8:05
Thursday, Nov. 29……………………………………………………… Time
Southern Utah at TCU (FOX Sports SW)………………………… 7:05
UM-Western at Idaho State (Big Sky TV)………………………… 7:05
Pepperdine at Montana State (Big Sky TV)…………………….. 8:05
Friday, Nov. 30………………………………………………………….. Time
CS Fullerton at Eastern Washington (Big Sky TV)………….. 6:05
Montana at San Francisco………………………………………………. 7:05
Saturday, Dec. 1…………………………………………………………. Time
San Jose State at Montana State (Big Sky TV)………………. 12:05
Sam Houston St. at No. Arizona (NAU-TV, Fox Arizona).. 4:35
Portland State at Loyola Marymount ……………………………… 5:05
Sacramento State at Arizona State (Pac-12 Network)……… 6:35
San Diego Christian at Southern Utah (Big Sky TV)……….. 7:35
Northern Colorado at UC Riverside                                         7:05
Game Times Local to Site/Subject to Change

Around the Big Sky
HORNETS’ FAST START: Sacramento State hiked its overall record to 4-1 with a 71-68 road win over Central Arkansas last Saturday. The Hornets trailed by 10 at the half. Sacramento State’s 4-1 record matches the program’s best start after five games. Only five other Hornet teams started the season 4-1, (1952-53, 1972-73, 1987-88, 1988-89, and 1999-2000. Sacramento State will try to make it 5-1 when it plays host to Division II Dominican on Tuesday night. All but the 1972-73 squad reached 5-1. No team in Sac State history has started 6-1.

DICKSON REACHES 1,000: Sacramento State senior John Dickson became the first player in the Big Sky this season to score his 1,000th career point. Dickson reached the mark in a loss to UC Davis last Tuesday. Dickson became the 10th player in Sac State history, and the fifth since the program moved to Division I in 1991-1992 to reach the milestone. Dickson enters Tuesday’s game with 1,017 career points. He’s second among active players. Montana’s Will Cherry, who has not played yet this season because of an injury, leads the way with 1,191 points.

Mid-Major Poll: Montana received 10 points in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. Montana will get a chance to impress voters as it travels to Salt Lake City to face Brigham Young on Wednesday. BYU is ranked 11th in the Mid-Major Poll. UM also plays No. 13 South Dakota State on Dec. 15 in Missoula. The top five in this week’s poll are Creighton, Gonzaga, Ohio, Murray State and Belmont.

HOME, FINALLY: Three Big Sky teams have yet to play a home regular-season game. All three will play at home this week. Eastern Washington, which has played four road games and two neutral site games, plays its home opener on Friday night against Cal State Fullerton. Idaho State, which has played three road games and two neutral site games, returns home to face UM Western on Thursday night. Idaho State, under first-year coach Bill Evans, is seeking its first win of the season. The Bengals have lost 10 straight dating back to last season. Northern Arizona plays its first home game under first-year coach Jack Murphy on Saturday against Sam Houston State of the Southland Conference. Northern Arizona will return to the Walkup Skydome for its home games this season. NAU played all of its home games the last two seasons at the Rolle Activity Center. Sacramento State, Montana and Northern Colorado are the only three teams in the Big Sky who have played more than one home game thus far. Big Sky teams are currently 4-25 in road games. Sacramento State has won two road games. League teams are 2-6 in neutral site games, and 10-2 in home games.

NCAA LEADERS The first NCAA leaders were released on Nov. 25. Eastern Washington ranks second in the nation in 3-point field goals per game with an average of 10.7. Northern Colorado ranks third in the nation in field-goal percentage at 53.8 percent. Montana is third in the nation in 3-point field-goal shooting a 46.5 percent. Weber State is 15th at 42.3 percent. Montana’s Spencer Coleman and Idaho State’s Tomas Sanchez are tied for the national lead in free-throw percentage. Neither has missed a free throw. Eastern Washington’s Martin Seiferth ranks 11th in the nation in blocks with an average of 3.17 per game.

JOIS NAMED TO TOURNEY TEAM: EWU true freshman Venky Jois was named to the All-Tournament Team for his performances in the 2012 College Basketball Experience Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. Jois averaged 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and had a pair of double-doubles. Jois had 19 points and 11 rebounds in a 75-70 win over South Carolina Upstate. He netted 15 points and 11 rebounds in a loss to Utah Valley.

Tip-ins: NAU’s Gabe Rogers needs 71 points to reach 1,000 for his career. Rogers scored 22 of NAU’s 48 points in a two-point loss to Jacksonville State…Idaho State has yet to allow more than 60 points in a game. ISU has failed to score more than 52 in a game…North Dakota’s Aaron Anderson scored 17 points with five 3-pointers in a 71-66 loss at Hawai’i…EWU’s Justin Crosgile had eight points and 10 assists in a win over South Carolina Upstate…Montana’s Kareem Jamar, who had a triple-double last season, scored eight points with 11 assists and six rebounds in a win over San Diego…Konner Veteto netted 19 points with 11 rebounds off the bench in Sacramento State’s 71-68 win over Central Arkansas…Big Sky teams are currently 1-27 when shooting under .450 percent from the field. League teams are 15-6 when they shoot above the mark…Southern Utah’s Damon Heuir scored 16 points in the Thunderbirds’ win over Carroll College…Montana State’s Flavien Davis scored 17 points in a loss to Air Force…Northern Colorado’s Tevin Svihovec scored 16 points in a loss to Colorado State.



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