Senior point guard scores 28 points versus Idaho State to win his first-ever Big Sky Player of the Week honor
Cliff Colimon of Eastern Washington University and Will Cherry from the University of Montana have been selected as the co-Big Sky Conference men’s basketball Players of the Week after leading their respective squads to key victories on the final night of the regular season.
Colimon, a 6-foot senior guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., has been impressive in Eastern victories this season, including Senior Night on Feb. 28 in a 77-64 win over Idaho State when he had a career-high 28 points to eclipse his previous high by one. The performance helped the two-year starter earn his first-ever Big Sky Player of the Week honor.
Colimon also added four assists versus the Bengals – all in the second half when he scored 20 of his points. Colimon had a four-point play with 53 seconds left in the first half to give EWU a five-point lead, then EWU out-scored ISU 44-35 after intermission, including a 30-15 run in the first 10:38 of the second half.
“What you want on a senior night is for your seniors to step up,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford, whose team hosts Idaho State on Saturday (March 3) at 2:05 p.m. in a quarterfinal game in the Big Sky Conference Championships. “Cliff led us offensively and had a great combination of beating people off the pass, the dribble and the shot. It was a complete game by our team and a complete game by these seniors. Generally, in basketball the team that is more aggressive is the team that wins, and I like that we were the more aggressive team.”
Colimon has scored at least 20 points on 11 occasions this season, including five of his last seven outings with a 21.1 average in those seven games. He is coming on strong at the end of the season much like he did last year when he had his previous career high with 27 points in last year’s Big Sky Conference Tournament against Weber State. In his final three games of his junior season, Colimon led EWU to a pair of victories and averaged 19.0 points per game.
In Eastern’s victories this season, Colimon is averaging 17.8 points per game on 44.2 percent shooting from the field (33-of-83 from the 3-point arc for 39.8 percent). In EWU’s losses, he is averaging 14.3 points on 34.7 percent shooting from the field (30-of-89 3-point shooting for 33.7 percent).
For the season, Colimon is second in the Big Sky Conference in assists (5.0 per game), fourth in scoring (15.9), fifth in steals (1.6), seventh in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.5), sixth in 3-pointers made per game (2.1), fifth in free throw percentage (.802) and third in minutes played (34.9). In statistics from league games only, he ranks third in scoring (17.9), second in assists (4.8), and second in minutes played (36.6).
His 63 3-pointers made this season rank eighth in school history and his 172 attempts are eighth. Despite playing just two seasons for EWU, he ranks sixth in school history for career 3-pointers with 111, and is ninth in attempts with 300.
Colimon also had a near triple-double versus Northern Colorado on Feb. 15 when he had 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds in EWU’s come-from-behind 79-76 win. One league game later, he scored 21 points with six rebounds and three assists in EWU’s 85-78 win at Idaho State on Feb. 23. He also had a 22-point effort on 8-of-16 shooting from the field in EWU’s Big Sky Conference-opening 82-66 victory over Montana State on Dec. 28.
Cherry, a 6-foot junior guard from West Oakland, Calif., scored 23 points with four assists, two rebounds, a block and a steal in Montana’s 66-51 win over Weber State on Tuesday. The victory clinched Montana’s first outright regular-season title since 1991-92 and ran the Grizzlies’ winning streak to 12 games. Montana finished the regular season 15-1, clinching the right to host the Big Sky Championship semifinals and championship for the first time since 2000. This is Cherry’s third Player of the Week honor this season, and the fifth on his career.