Montana Grizzlies, Montana State Bobcats highlight men’s All-Conference teams

Posted at 11:38 AM, Mar 05, 2018

(Editor’s Note: Big Sky Conference Media Release)

OGDEN — For the second-straight season, Eastern Washington earned the Big Sky Conference’s Most Valuable Player honor with senior guard/forward Bogdan Bliznyuk collecting the league’s highest accolade while also garnering All-Big Sky First Team honors to headline this year’s all-conference awards.

A total of five schools were represented on the first team with Bliznyuk being joined by Northern Colorado’s Andre Spight, Weber State’s Jerrick Harding, Montana’s Ahmaad Rorie and Idaho’s Brayon Blake.

Spight was tabbed the Big Sky Newcomer of the Year while Portland State’s Holland Woods collected freshman of the years honors.

Montana’s Michael Oguine earned Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year accolades and Idaho State’s Brandon Boyd took home Top Reserve honors.

In conference games this season, Bliznyuk was the lone player to rank in the top five in the league in scoring (22.2 ppg), rebounding (7.6 rpg) and assists (4.8 apg). The Lutsk, Ukraine native scored in double figures in all but one league game with 10 20-plus scoring outings. On the season, Bliznyuk averaged 20.4 points per game to climb to third on the Big Sky career scoring list with 2,060 points. He needs just 43 points to break the 24-year conference record of 2,102 set by Idaho’s Orlando Lightfoot in 1994. The all-conference nod is the second of his career after collecting second team honors a season ago.

Spight led the league in scoring during the conference season with 25.2 points per game in his final collegiate campaign. The senior guard knocked down 97 three-pointers and averaged 22.1 points per game on the year to lead the conference. Spight was the lone player in the league this season to score multiple 40-point games with 41- and 40-point outings on the year.

Harding joined Bliznyuk and Spight as unanimous All-Big Sky First Team selections. The sophomore guard led the league in scoring for almost the entire season with an average of 22.1 points per game. The Wichita, Kan., native scored a league-best 46 points in the regular season finale against Montana State on Saturday, tying for the 10th-most points in league history and the highest since 1993.

Rorie collected his second-straight All-Big Sky honor following a second team selection last year. The Montana junior ranked in the top 10 in the league in scoring (16.9 ppg), assists (3.7 apg) and steals (1.3 spg), averaging the third-most minutes per game with 35.4.

Blake earned his first All-Big Sky honor, leading the conference with 9.5 rebounds per game while adding 16.6 points per contest. In conference play, Blake averaged 18.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He also led the league with 11 double-doubles.

The All-Big Sky Second Team was comprised of Oguine, Idaho’s Victor Sanders, Montana State’s Tyler Hall, Sacramento State’s Justin Strings and North Dakota’s Geno Crandall.

The third team consisted of Montana’s Jamar Akoh, Idaho State’s Jared Stutzman, Northern Colorado’s Jordan Davis and Weber State’s Zach Braxton and Ryan Richardson.

Boyd, Portland State’s Brandon Hollins and Bryce Canda, Eastern Washington’s Mason Peatling and Montana State’s Harald Frey were tabbed honorable mention selections.

The All-Big Sky teams are voted on by the league’s head coaches.

The Big Sky Men’s Basketball Championship gets underway Tuesday with the first round matchups beginning at 12:05 p.m. PT at the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nev.

2017-18 Big Sky Men’s Basketball All-Conference Teams

Name Position Class School
Bogdan Bliznyuk Guard/Forward Senior Eastern Washington
Andre Spight Guard Senior Northern Colorado
Jerrick Harding Guard Sophomore Weber State
Ahmaad Rorie Guard Junior Montana
Brayon Blake Forward Senior Idaho

Name Position Class School
Victor Sanders Guard Senior Idaho
Michael Oguine Guard Junior Montana
Tyler Hall Guard Junior Montana State
Justin Strings Forward Senior Sacramento State
Geno Crandall Guard Junior North Dakota

Name Position Class School
Jamar Akoh Forward Junior Montana
Jared Stutzman Guard/Forward Sophomore Idaho State
Zach Braxton Forward/Center Junior Weber State
Ryan Richardson Guard Senior Weber State
Jordan Davis Guard Junior Northern Colorado

Name Position Class School
Brandon Boyd Guard Sophomore Idaho State
Harald Frey Guard Sophomore Montana State
Brandon Hollins Forward Senior Portland State
Bryce Canda Guard Senior Portland State
Mason Peatling Forward Sophomore Eastern Washington

Individual Award Winners
Most Valuable Player: Bogdan Bliznyuk, Sr., G/F, Eastern Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Andre Spight, Sr., G, Northern Colorado
Freshman of the Year: Holland Woods, Fr., G, Portland State
Defensive Player of the Year: Michael Oguine, Jr., G, Montana
Top Reserve: Brandon Boyd, So., G, Idaho State