Big Sky title up for grabs as Lumberjacks try to cut down Wildcats
Ogden, UT (Sports Network) – The championship game of the Big Sky
Conference Tournament pits the top-seeded Weber State Wildcats against the
second-seeded Northern Arizona Lumberjacks.
This contest is being played on Weber State’s home floor, and the winner will
receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Northern Arizona earned a
share of the regular season title with Weber State, and the
Lumberjacks received a bye to the semifinal round as a result. They met third-
seeded Montana on Tuesday, and the outcome was a 78-71 win. Northern Arizona
has won this tournament twice, most recently in 2000, but it still owns a
lackluster 12-15 all-time record at this event.
As for Weber State, it has won the tourney title seven times, more than any
other active league member. The Wildcats, who last captured the championship
back in 2003, earned a bye to the semifinal round thanks to an 11-5 record
against Big Sky foes during the regular season. Last night, they showed a
great deal of toughness in a 77-74 victory over fourth-seeded Portland State.
Weber State beat Northern Arizona twice during the regular season, and the
Wildcats own a 60-22 lead in the all-time series.
Northern Arizona led by as many as 20 points in the first half against Montana
in yesterday’s semifinal matchup, but the Lumberjacks saw their advantage cut
to 11 points at intermission and then failed to score for the first eight
minutes of the second half. They actually trailed by two points after that
drought, but the team fought back and grinded out a well-deserved victory.
Tyrone Bazy scored 20 points for NAU on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor to lead
the way in the win. Kyle Landry came off the bench as well to tally 18 points
in 19 minutes of action. Ruben Boykin Jr. managed 14 points, 10 rebounds and
four blocks, while Stephen Sir hit 3-of-4 three-pointers en route to 13 points.
Bazy (16.3 ppg), Boykin Jr. (15.6 ppg) and Sir (14.5 ppg) form arguably the top
trio in the conference.
Weber State trailed Portland State by six points with 3:28 to play last night,
but the Wildcats were able to rally for the victory thanks to clutch shooting
and strong defense in the closing minutes. Five players reached double figures
in scoring in the victory, and Dezmon Harris led the group with 15 points. Big
Sky MVP David Patten had 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks, and Daviin
Davis pitched in 14 points as well. Tyler Billings nailed 3-of-4 three-pointers
en route to 11 points, and Juan Pablo Silveira pitched in 10 points for Weber
State. The Wildcats shot just 40.4 percent from the floor while permitting
Portland State to connect on 51.9 percent of its field goal attempts.
Fortunately, Weber State earned a 25-10 advantage in points from the foul line.
Patten carried an average of 14.1 ppg into this tournament and seems to do a
little bit of everything for his club.