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Around the Big Sky: Griz Riding Home Win Streak
Montana's Tinkle enters with 68 league wins
A recap of recent men's basketball news in the Big Sky Conference from Assistant Commissioner Jon Kasper:

The Montana men enter the week having won 17 straight regular-season conference games, and 19 in a row at home over Big Sky teams. UM’s last home conference loss was on Feb. 27, 2010 to Montana State. Montana head coach Wayne Tinkle can move into a tie for 10th on the conference wins list with two victories this week against Eastern Washington on Thursday and Portland State on Friday. Tinkle has 68 league wins.

Weber State enters the week having won eight straight regular-season conference home games, and nine in a row over league foes at the Dee Events Center. Weber State true freshman Joel Bolomboy made 8-of-8 field goals and finished with 16 points and 6 rebounds in the win over University of the Southwest.

Idaho State enters the week hoping to snap a 15-game losing streak to Division I competition.

STILL PERFECT: League newcomer Southern Utah moved to 2-0 in conference play with a 51-50 win over Northern Colorado on Saturday in Cedar City. The Thunderbirds scored the games final seven points, including the game-winning basket by Wade Collie with 14 seconds left following a steal by A.J. Hess on an inbound pass under the SUU basket. Jackson Stevenett scored 14 points and Collie added 13. SUU outrebounded the Bears 45-32. SUU leads the Big Sky in rebounding margin at +5.8. Southern Utah is the first team to win its first two Big Sky games in its first season of play since Cal State Northridge started 2-0 in 1996-97. The Matadors lost in their third conference game to Montana State. Southern Utah will play its third conference game on Saturday at Northern Arizona. In 1970-71, Boise State won its first four conference games, the Broncos’ first season in the Big Sky.

UND GETS DI WIN: North Dakota picked up its first Division I victory of the season, downing Bowling Green 56-53 in Grand Forks last Friday. Division I non-conference wins have been hard to come by for Big Sky teams this season. The league is 15-62 in Division I non-conference games this season. Big Sky teams have played just 19 home games against non-conference Division I opponents this season. Idaho State has yet to play a Division I non-conference home game, while Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State and Southern Utah have all played one. Eastern Washington, Weber State and Montana State have all played three Division I non-conference home games. Big Sky teams are 8-11 in Division I home games against non-league foes.

RPI REPORT: Weber State continues to lead the Big Sky in the RPI. The Wildcats remained 93rd overall, picking up a non-Division I win last week. Montana is second at 113. The Grizzlies improved 13 spots. Northern Arizona is third at 158, an improvement of 21 spots. Sacramento State is fourth at 218. The Big Sky is rated 30th this week among Division I conferences, just ahead of the Big South and just behind the Mid-Eastern. Northern Arizona’s schedule is rated as the 46th toughest in the nation. The non-conference schedule strength of the Big Sky is rated second. Only the SWAC has played a more difficult non-conference slate. The Big Ten is rated No. 1 in the RPI, followed by the Mountain West, ACC, Big East and Big 12. Duke is No. 1, followed by Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina State and Colorado.

CLOSING IN ON 1,000: Weber State Scott Bamforth scored 18 points in a 110-45 win over the University of the Southwest. Bamforth now has 941 career points, leaving him just 59 away from 1,000 for his career. Bamforth made four 3-pointers in the victory, giving him 174 for his career. The senior is now tied for 26th on the Big Sky’s all-time list for made 3-pointers with former Montana State great Scott Hatler. Northern Arizona senior Gabe Rogers is the active leader with 184 made 3-pointers. He is tied for 19th all-time with former Eastern Washington great Marc Axton. Just 13 players have made 200 career 3-pointers in Big Sky play.

LOPSIDED WIN: Weber State’s 110-45 win over University of the Southwest, an NAIA program from New Mexico, was the most lopsided win in school history. University of the Southwest lost by 46 points (127-81) to Northern Colorado on Nov. 10. Idaho holds the Big Sky record for the largin margin of victory in Big Sky history. The Vandals beat Northwest College by 77 points (111-34) in 1987. Weber State shot 69.7 percent from the field in the win. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, and all 10 who played scored at least five. WSU made 10-of-14 3-pointers in the first half.

MOON RETURNS: Montana State welcomed senior Christian Moon to the starting lineup for the first time this season in a 101-70 win over Northwest Indian College. Moon, who made his season debut on Dec. 19 in a loss to Sacramento State, scored 21 points with seven rebounds and three steals in 32 minutes of action.

SALDIVAR IN TOP 15: Northern Arizona senior Stallon Saldivar has moved into the top 15 in assists in league history. Saldivar dished out four assists in a loss to BYU, upping his career total to 412. Saldivar moved into 15th place, passing former Montana guard Scott Zanon (411). Next on the list is former EWU guard Ronn McMahon (421).
 
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