Big Sky Conference

EWU’s Bliznyuk named Big Sky MVP

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OGDEN, Utah (March 5, 2018) – 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.

Weber State guard Jerrick Harding splits Montana State defenders/by Brooks Nuanez

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.

Montana junior Michael Oguine/ by Brooks Nuanez

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

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

SECOND TEAM
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

THIRD TEAM
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

HONORABLE MENTION
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

* Unanimous First Team Selection

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