OGDEN, Utah—Mikh McKinney could not be stopped.
Whether mid-range or from three, McKinney dropped his stepback jumper on Weber State possession after possession in crunch time, leading Sacramento State to a 78-71 road win Saturday to keep the Hornets at the Big Sky's number one spot.
After a tough Jeremy Senglin drive cut the Hornets' lead to 66-65 with four minutes left, McKinney took over, drilling three treys down the stretch en route to 27 second-half points. The senior shot 8-of-9 in the second frame, including 5-of-5 from deep.
"I got into a little rhythm and made a couple," McKinney said. "I just had to make shots for my team, trying to win the game."
McKinney repeatedly silenced the crowd of 7,880, which wasn't lost on him, as Weber State won comfortably in the last two times the teams met in Ogden.
"We've come here the last two years and had a rough time here," McKinney continued, "so to be able to pull one out, that's good for us as a team."
While McKinney took over in the second half, fellow senior Dylan Garrity lit up the first half. Hornets coach Brian Katz ran set after set for Garrity, who delivered with 4-of-6 shooting from three, adding a 3-of-3 trip to the free-throw line being fouled on an additional three attempt.
Weber State, the youngest team in the conference, is now 3-5 in league play in an unusually down year for the Wildcats. The decision marked the first time since 2006 Weber State has lost two consecutive home conference games. It was also the first time in Randy Rahe's nine-season tenure that Weber has lost three straight conference games.
Joel Bolomboy posted a career high for Weber State with 21 while also corralling 13 rebounds and throwing down a manly dunk in the process.
Sacramento State improves to 7-1 in conference play and returns home to host Montana and Montana State. Weber State hits the road to take on North Dakota and Northern Colorado.
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Eastern Washington trounces North Dakota, sprints to win with 67 points in second half
It was an upset watch early with North Dakota (2-5) holding a 41-35 lead on the road at Eastern Washington (6-1), but the Eagles poured in 67 (!) second-half points to run away with a 102-80 victory. Tyler Harvey ticked up his nation-leading scoring average by scoring 26 to lead EWU, which included a 10-of-11 free-throw performance. The Eagles overwhelmed UND in part by getting to the line (24-of-28 versus 8-of-10).
Bogdan Bliznyuk added 25, while Drew Brandon flirted with a triple double, posting 11 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds.
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Turnovers doom Southern Utah as Montana avoids home upset
Jordan Gregory and Martin Breunig scored 15 apiece as the Montana Grizzlies (6-1) held off the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (2-5) 58-56 in Missoula. SUU committed 19 turnovers in the loss.
Breunig played only 23 minutes due to foul trouble, eventually fouling out. Race Parsons led the T-Birds with 13 poitns.
Montana has surprised by going 6-1 early in Big Sky play, but has played five of seven at home and has yet to play Sacramento State or Eastern Washington. The Griz hit the road to play Portland State and Sac State next week.
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Idaho holds off furious Northern Colorado rally
After a comfortable lead for Idaho (3-4), the Northern Colorado Bears (4-3) went on a 30-10 rally and cut Idaho's lead to 78-77 late, but couldn't complete the comeback as the Vandals held on to win, 83-79.
Mike Scott and Connor Hill posted 23 and 21 points respectively for the Vandals, combining to shoot 8-of-13 from three. Tim Huskisson scored 21 for the Bears.
Each Big Sky team has two weeks where they play only one game, when playing its designated rival. Idaho has another "rest" week with a trip to Eastern Washington next Saturday. After that, Idaho will have to play its last 10 games in five weeks, having already used up its one-game weeks. So it will be interesting to see if Idaho can be as competitive as it has been.
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Idaho State upsets Portland State from the three-point line
The Idaho State Bengals (2-6) took a shot at the middle of the Big Sky conference pack, holding on to beat Portland State (4-4) at home. ISU got 17 apiece from Chris Hansen and Nnamdi Ezenwa, and the Bengals shot 8-of-15 from deep, including 3-of-4 from Erik Nakken and Evann Hall, who combined for a mere 10 minutes.
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Upshur's late 3-point barrage lifts Northern Arizona to road win at Montana State
Quinton Upshur scored a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers in the final seven minutes, to lead Northern Arizona to a 71-64 win over Montana State. Kris Yanku was the second Big Sky player to flirt with a triple-double Saturday, contributing 15 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds to spur the Lumberjacks to a 4-3 record in conference play.
Montana State falls to 1-6.
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BIG SKY STANDINGS