Friday, December 19, 2014

Big Sky Men's Basketball Scoring Leaders

Just a handful of games separate us from the beginning of Big Sky Conference play, and the Big Sky has played some tough games in non-conference play and has shown well.  Today I want to take a look at the scoring leaders in the Big Sky and see how they stack up.

We'll look at each teams leader in points per game and consider some of the other high scorers after the break.

But first, let's take a look at 3 points from one of the Big Sky's leading scorers Venky Jois:

First let's start by setting the scale.  I went through and selected the top scorer from each team and arbitrarily cut off the other scorers at 13.9 points per game because that number includes Joel Bolomboy of Weber State and I think this conversation is incomplete with out the big man.  I'm going to give a run down on each players stats and my interpretation of them.

A.J. Hess - Southern Utah
Junior Guard 6'6" 190 lbs.
13.6 points per game.  Hess takes more than half of his shots from beyond the 3 point line and is hitting them at a career high 43%.  He's also grabbing 4 rebounds per contest and is nearly perfect from the FT line (19 of 21).  Hess leads the Thunderbirds with 26 minutes per game, the team has 10 players that have played all 7 of their games and average at least 10 minutes per game.  If you extrapolate his shot rate and make percentage to Tyler Harvey's average of 36 minutes Hess would be scoring about 18.4 points per game.

Michael Dison - Montana State
Senior Guard 5'9" 160 lbs.
12.7 points per game.  Dison is the most prolific shooter on a team that has not shot well this season.  Despite that he's hitting 3's at a career high 37% and overall is 1/10th of a percent off his career high from the field at 39.3%.  His averages were substantially hurt by a 1-9 performance against then #1 ranked Kentucky.  He has also gone 2 of 16 from the field, 1-8 from 3, in the last two games against Wyoming and South Dakota.

Jaron Nash - North Dakota
Senior Forward 6'8" 185 lbs.
12.2 points per game and 7.8 rebounds.  Nash leads UND in the front court and the team is 2-1 when he gets a double-double.  The trouble comes in that he's only hitting 42% from the field and that's too low for a post player that's leading his team.

Jordan Gregory - Montana
Senior Guard 6'2" 192 lbs.
16.2 points per game.  Gregory currently has career highs in field goals, 3 pointers and assists.  The trouble is, outside of his Freshman year when he didn't get on the court much, he's hitting those shots at career low rates 41% overall and 32% from 3 point range.  As the second option for the Griz he's doing his part, but needs to improve his accuracy if he wants to turn some of their close losses into wins and compete for the Big Sky scoring title this year.

Martin Breunig - Montana
Junior Forward 6'8" 210 lbs.
16.7 points per game.  Breunig leads the Griz and scores nearly all of his points inside.  Against Davidson he put up 30 and in a 2 point double overtime loss to Cal he put up 23.  He has one double-double on the season against lower division Carroll College and is grabbing 6.4 rebounds per game.  Breunig is everything you want in a big man offensively hitting 68% of his shots and nearly 74% of his FT's as well.

Joel Bolomboy - Weber State
Junior Forward 6'9" 225 lbs.
13.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2 blocks per game.  Bolomboy is probably the best big man in the conference overall.  He is 13th in the nation at rebounding per game and getting 2 blocks per game with their schedule shows he is more than an asset on defense as well.  He is hitting his shots at a career low of 45% and needs to get that number up, but make no mistake he is a scary offensive player in the Big Sky.

Jeremy Senglin - Weber State
Sophomore Guard 6'2" 185 lbs.
14.3 points per game.  Senglin leads the Wildcats in scoring by taking a lot of shots (11 per game).  Unfortunately he's hitting them at just 39% and like the rest of the Wildcats is turning it over a lot.  He's averaging 3.8 TO's per game which leads the team, Bolomboy is second with 3.6 per game.  His Assist to Turnover ratio is a bad 2.9/3.8.  If the Wildcats can get the turnovers under control and Senglin gets even a little more accurate shooting they could suddenly become one of the best offensive teams in the Conference.

Quinton Upshur - Northern Arizona
Senior Guard 6'5" 207 lbs.
15.5 points per game.  Upshur leads a Lumberjack team that looks very good.  As Jonathan Reed of put it, don't sleep on Northern Arizona.  Culminating with a stolen inbounds pass and lay-up Quinton led the Lumberjacks to 73-71 upset of the St Mary's Gaels earlier this week with a game leading 26 points.  He's hitting 37% of his threes and getting 1 steal per game, but there is a lot to be said for timing.  He also sank 4 points in the final minute to seal the team's win over Loyola Marymount.

Tevin Svihovec - Northern Colorado
Senior Guard 6'2" 190 lbs
12.1 points per game.  Svihovec is hitting 47% of his shots and 45.5% of his 3's this season.  Tevin was a star in a memorable match up during his Freshman season against EWU in Greeley, where he scored 3 game tying buckets in a game the Bears eventually one by a single point.  Here is the Eagle Eye review of that game, one of the most fun games I've seen in the Big Sky.  Getting back to the present Svihovec is leading an efficient Bears team that could surprise in conference play.

Connor Hill - Idaho
Senior Guard 6'3" 190 lbs.
14.4 points per game.  Hill started slow in their first 3 games averaging just 7.2 points per game, since then he has scored at least 13 points in every game and 3 times has scored 19 or more including his 19 points in the Vandals 77-71 upset of Washington State.  Hill is hitting nearly 43% of his attempts from 3 and with the way the Vandals are playing defensively, they are going to need even more.

Mike Scott - Idaho
Senior Guard 6'0" 180 lbs.
14.6 points per game.  Scott is scoring nearly at will as he leads the Vandals, but he is also dishing it out consistently with 5.7 assists per game with just 1.2 TO's.  He's shooting 45% from beyond the arc, 46% overall.  Scott is a big reason the Vandals are competing well so far and looks to be a guy that can play offensively against anyone.

DaShaun Wiggins - Portland State
Senior Guard 6'2" 190 lbs.
15.6 points per game.  Wiggins is picking his shots better than most, he's 54% from beyond the arc while attempting just over 3 per game.  He's hit double digits in scoring in every game this year with a 32 point high against SIU Edwardsville in an overtime victory for the Vikings.  Wiggins is hitting career highs across the board, except for FT's where he's dipped to 65% from 72% last year.  The Vikings need the rest of their back court to step up if they want to contend, but Wiggins is certainly giving them all he has.

Chris Hansen - Idaho State
Senior Guard 6'4" 220 lbs.
18.1 points per game.  Hansen is shooting everything for the Bengals, unfortunately he's only making 33% of his shots from beyond the arc.  He currently has 45 more shot attempts than the next leading Bengal and has taken 75 of the teams 156 attempts from 3 point range.  He's shooting career lows in percentage, and career highs in attempts.  The Bengals need him to get back to his career averages if they want to compete, and they need to get him some help spreading out defenses to get him there.

Mikh McKinney - Sacramento State
Senior Guard 6'1" 170 lbs.
18.5 points per game.  He's shooting 56% overall and 33% from beyond the arc.  He's also adding 4.8 assists and 2.8 steals per contest while giving up 1.9 TO's.  He's actually hitting a career low from 3, but when you are a threat to dish, drive or shoot it makes you very hard to defend.  The Hornets need more production from their front court to make them a legitimate contender, or their back court with McKinney and Garrity will be wasted.

Venky Jois - Eastern Washington
Junior Forward 6'8" 230 lbs
19.6 points per game.  Jois is hitting a career high of 60% of his shots and a career high of 33% of his few 3 point attempts as well as improving his FT shooting 4% over the previous year.  Beyond that he's averaging 8.4 rebounds and is the all time career shot block leader in Eastern history.  He's expanding his record at 2.5 per game (career high) and is adding 1.5 steals (career high) and is only getting called for 1.9 fouls (career low) per game.  If Eastern makes a run in the Big Sky it will be in large part to Venky Jois having a career year.

Tyler Harvey - Eastern Washington
Junior Forward 6'4" 195 lbs.
21 points per game.  Harvey led the Big Sky in scoring last year, and he hasn't let up.  No team has held him under 16 points this season and the only time he scored that few was in a single half against lower division Walla Walla.  Earlier this week Harvey accounted for 26 of Eastern's 52 points as really the lone good performance in a bad loss to Sam Houston State.  Harvey was 8 of 10 from the field that day including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.  He is also one of the best FT shooters in school history.  The Eagles can count on Tyler at all times, but they will need to see more from the rest if they want to win the Big Sky.

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