CSJ Big Sky Men’s Hoops Preview Week Ending 2/22/2020: Idaho Stuns EWU as Eagles Fall Out of Big Sky Lead

Eastern Washington’s bid to move into a tie for the lead in the Big Sky Conference standings took a major hit from the unlikeliest of sources Idaho held on for a 74-71 win over the Eagles on Feb. 13.

The loss dropped EWU to 9-4 in conference play and improved the Vandals to 3-10 in the league. Montana, meanwhile, rolled over Weber State 72-37 that same night to improve its record to 11-3 in the conference. Eastern Washington rebounded two days later to defeat Portland State 89-81, while the Grizzlies got past Idaho State 78-63 to maintain their first-place standing in the conference. 

The Eagles, along with Northern Colorado open this week’s slate of game sporting 10-4 conference records and share second place in the league standings. Montana State is third with an 8-6 record, while Northern Arizona (8-7) and Southern Utah (7-7) round out the top six teams.

The Vandals trailed early in the game against the Eagles, but used a 16-0 spurt in the first half to take command of the game in the first half thanks in large part to three 3-pointers from Damen Thacker to forge a 17-6 lead. Idaho found itself in front 41-23 at the intermission.

The visiting Vandals managed to increase the lead to 49-25 before EWU began to chip away. A basket from close range by Mason Peatling brought the deficit to single digits at 53-45 with 10:51 remaining in the second half.

Idaho once again fashioned a double-digit lead with just under two minutes left in the game and EWU cut it to 73-71 with four seconds to play. The Eagles would not get any closer.

Trevon finished with 32 points and added 11 rebounds for his first career double-double to lead the Vandals while Thacker and Ja’Vary Christmas added 11 points each. Christmas had his most productive offensive night since scoring 17 points in the season opener.

Peatling and teammate Jacob Davison both scored 21 points to pace the Eagles while Kim Aiken and Casson Rouse both chipped in with 10 points.

Big Sky Conference Men’s Marquee Game of the Week

Montana at Montana State

When: Saturday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m.
Where: Worthington Arena (6,772)
Television: Pluto TV

Whenever a pair of rivals clash for bragging rights there is bound to be excitement and plenty of banter from opposing fan bases. When that clash involves Montana and Montana State the animosity is racheted up a few notches … and then a few more.

The Grizzlies invade Bozeman on Saturday in Round 2 of basketball’s version of Brawl of the Wild.

MONTANA GRIZZLIES: Montana has just two players scoring more than seven points per game this season, but have still played well enough together to move to the lead in the race for the top spot in the conference standings.

Sayeed Pridgett (6-5, Sr. G) leads the Griz in virtually all offensive categories this season. He tops the team charts in scoring at 19.7 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He is connecting on 50 percent (208-415) of his field goal attempts and has been successful on 86 of 117 attempts from the foul line. Pridgett also paces the team with 98 assists and 38 steals.

Pridgett came up just short of a triple-double in Montana’s 78-63 win over Idaho State. He finished the game with 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists as the Grizzlies defeated the Bengals for the 12th straight time.

Kendal Manuel (6-4, RS, Sr., G) is also scoring in double figures. He has pumped in 15.3 points per contest and ranks third on the team with 3.7 rebounds per game. Manuel is third on the squad with 51 assists and ranks fourth with 23 steals.

Montana’s current winning streak, which reached five games with last week’s triumph over ISU, began with a 78-64 win over Montana State on Feb. 1 in Missoula. All five wins have been at least 10 points, including a 35-point win over Weber State as the Grizzlies held the Wildcats to just 37 points. It was the fewest points allowed by Montana in a Big Sky contest since limiting Idaho State to just 25 points during the 1975-76 season.

MONTANA STATE BOBCATS: MSU swept a pair of games last week to remain in the hunt for the top seed in the upcoming Big Sky Conference tournament. But, the Bobcats can ill afford a loss this week against Portland State or the rival Grizzlies.

Harald Frey (6-2, Sr., G) leads the Bobcats in scoring with 17.1 points per game and ranks fourth in rebounding with 4.6 caroms per contest. An exceptional ball handler, Frey has also amassed 111 assists this season to lead the team in that category, as well as with 39 steals on the defensive end.

Amin Adamu (6-4, Jr. G) and Jubrile Belo (6-9, So. F) are both scoring at an 11.8 points per game clip for the Bobcats. Adamu is third on the team in rebounding (5.4 rpg), assists (35) and steals (21). Belo, meanwhile, is second on the squad with 5.7 boards per contest and has a team-leading 25 blocks already this season.

Big Sky Conference Men’s Basketball Standings 

Teamvs. Big SkyOverallSagarin
Eastern Washington10-417-8139
Northern Colorado10-417-8126
Montana State8-614-11208
Northern Arizona8-714-10233
Southern Utah7-714-11211
Portland State6-812-14197
Sacramento State6-913-11231
Weber State6-910-16245
Idaho State3-126-18323

Check out our full Mid-Major Sagarin Ratings for this week here.

Last Week’s Results

Feb 10

Portland State 83, Northern Colorado 71

Feb. 13

Idaho 74, Eastern Washington 71
Montana 72, Weber State 37
Montana State 73, Idaho State 69
Northern Colorado 84, Northern Arizona 54
Sacramento State 70, Southern Utah 55

Feb. 15

Eastern Washington 89, Portland State 81
Montana 78, Idaho State 63
Montana State 77, Weber State 63
Northern Arizona 82, Southern Utah 69
Northern Colorado 68, Sacramento State 65

This Week’s Games

Feb. 17

Idaho at Portland State, 8:05 p.m.

Feb. 20

Southern Utah at Northern Colorado, 7 p.m., Pluto TV (channel 541)
Sacramento State at Eastern Washington, 7:05 p.m., Pluto TV (channel 534)
Northern Arizona at Idaho, 7:30 p.m., Pluto TV (channel 542)
Montana State at Portland State, 8:05 p.m., ElevenVideo

Feb. 22

Sacramento State at Idaho, 2 p.m., Pluti TV (channel 542)
Northern Arizona at Eastern Washington, 3:05 p.m., Pluto TV (channel 534)
Montana at Montana State, 7 p.m., Pluto TV
Northern Colorado at Idaho State, 7 p.m.
Southern Utah at Weber State, 7 p.m., Pluto TV (channel 535)