GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Before the 2016-17 season kicked off, the trendy picks in the Big Sky Conference were the Weber State Wildcats and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
As the season has moved along, nothing has changed. Many are still picking between the Wildcats and Fighting Hawks to be representing the conference in the NCAA Tournament. On Thursday night, the two teams squared off inside ‘The Betty’, with both looking to gain an edge in the race for the Big Sky title.
Weber State held a five-point lead at halftime, and they stretched their lead to nine early in the second, but they weren’t able to hold off the host Fighting Hawks down the stretch.
If there’s one thing about college basketball fans, it’s that they will go to great lengths to ensure that players on their favourite teams get the respect they deserve.
That has been seen week in and week out with our Fan-Voted Player of the Week awards this season. Each week, fans come out to support their players, and show their appreciation for the hard work the players put into their craft each time they step onto the court.
This week was no different, as fans of the Sacramento State Hornets came out in full force to support one of their talented big men.
The Hornets have the luxury of rolling out three talented forwards on a nightly basis. With Justin Strings, Eric Stuteville, and Nick Hornsby patrolling the front court, the Hornets can create all kinds of problems for opposing teams in the Big Sky.
Over the past seven days, Hornsby was a handful for his opponents. Sacramento State took home two big road wins this past week, and the 6’7” Hornsby was a big reason why. He recorded a pair of double-doubles, while shooting above 50% in both games to lead the way for the Hornets.
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Thursday night saw two teams square off in Big Sky action who are trending in different directions. The Montana State Bobcats played host to the North Dakota Fighting Hawks in Bozeman, MT, in the first of two meetings between the schools this season.
Following a blowout loss to the Portland State Vikings to open conference play, the Fighting Hawks came into Thursday’s tilt riding a three-game win streak.
On the flip side, the Bobcats knocked off the Idaho State Bengals to open up Big Sky play, but have lost their last three contests.
The hosts were hoping to flip the script and get back on the right track, while the visitors were hoping to keep riding their hot streak to another win in conference play.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Quinton Hooker is starting to find his groove after a slow(er) start to the 2016-17 season, and that’s bad news for the rest of the Big Sky Conference moving forwards.
Coming into the season, we tabbed Hooker as our Preseason Big Sky Conference Player of the Year. He was coming off a year where he averaged 20.1 points per contest, recorded the program’s first-ever triple-double, and took home the College Court Report Player of the Year award.
In the past two games, both of which were wins for the North Dakota Fighting Hawks, Hooker averaged 25.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. On Saturday afternoon against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, Hooker was looking to continue his strong play and lead the Fighting Hawks to their third straight win.
Hooker scored a game-high 23 points for the Fighting Hawks, and was one of five players to score in double-figures on the day for the home side.
The rivalry between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the North Dakota State Bison dates all the way back to 1905. Entering Wednesday night’s action, North Dakota had a record of 159-130 in the series.
Wednesday also marked the first of two meetings between the teams over the next ten days, and took place in Fargo, ND.
The last time the Fighting Hawks won in Fargo was back in 2003.
Both teams entered Wednesday’s tilt having won their previous outings, and were looking to create some momentum in the rivalry ahead of next week’s rematch.
North Dakota was looking to make a statement, and make a statement they did. It was a big night for the Fighting Hawks, who cruised in the second half and extended their lead to as many as 20 points down the stretch.
With the exception of November and early-season tournaments, Mondays tend to be one of the quieter days of the week in the college basketball world. The first Monday of December was no different, as only a handful of games took place across the country.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t any exciting games.
Conference play in the MAAC was underway, and the Siena Saints paid a visit to the Rider Broncs to cap off what was an exciting weekend for the conference as a whole. There was a big time showdown inside the infamous Madison Square Garden, where two teams were looking for a resume-boosting win early in the year.
There was a 42-point game in Bozeman, MT, and the night cap in Portland went to double overtime.