Big Sky Basketball Wrap, Thursday 1/23 - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Basketball Wrap, Thursday 1/23

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Griz Take Eighth Straight over Idaho State

Guard Mario Dunn connected on a big three-pointer with 1:04 seconds to go to give the University of Montana Grizzles the lead for good in an exciting, 59-54 come-from,-behind win over the Idaho State Bengals in a Big Sky Conference contest Thursday evening in ISU's Reed Gym.

The Bengals (3-4 Big Sky/6-10 overall) had taken a 54-52 lead with 1:36 remaining on a steal and fast-break lay-up by senior guard Andre Hatchett. But, on UM's next possession Dunn, a true freshman from Oakland who was making his second career start, canned the crucial trey from the left side of the court he gave the Griz a 55-54 edge and the game-winning point(s).

The game featured eight lead changes and three ties. It was Montana's eight win in a row over ISU.

The Grizzlies (3-4/8-8) preserved the victory thanks to four clutch free throws by junior guards Keron DeShields and Jordan Gregory. First it was DeShields converting two crucial charity shots in a one-and-one situation with 29.2 seconds left, giving UM a 57-54 lead. Then DeShields converted his one-and-one opportunity with a pair of free throws, and the Griz led 59-54 with 5.8 seconds left to play.

ISU took a double-figure lead in the second half with 9:38 left on a three-pointer by junior guard/forward Chris Hansen, which gave the Bengals a 44-34 advantage. However, the Griz made their comeback bid after Hansen's trey, going on a 9-0 run, and cut the Bengal lead to 44-43 on a three-pointer by Gregory with 6:51 remaining.

"That was a heck of a comeback by our team and a great finish," said head coach Wayne Tinkle on the post-game show on KGVO Radio. "We got some timely shots from Jordan, from Mike (Weisner) and from Brandon (Gfeller), and of course ‘JG' (Gregory).

"And how about Mario," Tinkle continued. "We took him out there for quite awhile, and then he goes in the game after sitting and hits that big three-pointer for us. It was a great team win for us – which we needed. It was a chemistry builder."

The Grizzlies jumped to an early 10-point lead in the opening minutes, as DeShields connected on a three-pointer to give UM a 14-4 advantage with 15:28 to go until intermission. However, ISU made a run of its own, out-scoring UM 13-2 over the next seven minutes, and took a 17-16 lead with 7:44 left until the break. ISU went on to take a 30-21 lead at halftime.

Gregory scored a game-high 21 points (16 in the second half), going 7-of-14 from the floor, 5-of-9 from behind the arc, and made his only two free throw attempts, and he also pulled down 6 boards. DeShields added 13 points and was 4-of-5 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range. Dunn scored 8 points.

Junior forward Chris Kemp tied his career-high with a team-high 7 rebounds. Senior guard/forward Kareem Jamar was held to 7 points – the first time this season he was not scored in double figures, but he dished out 9 assists, and also had 6 rebounds and 3 steals.

The Griz were a solid 12-of-26 (46.2%) from three-point range for the game, and made 8-of-15 (53.3%) treys in the second half. ISU had a 32-30 edge on the boards.

Montana continues its four-game league road trip this Saturday, Jan. 25, playing pre-season favorite Weber State. The Wildcats defeating visiting Montana State 86-57 this evening, as all five starters scored in double figures.

Lady Griz Knock Off Idaho State

Montana raced out to a 20-point halftime and led by a comfortable margin the entire second half to snap its two-game losing streak with a convincing 67-48 victory over Idaho State Thursday night at Dahlberg Arena in Missoula.

The Lady Griz (10-6, 4-3 BSC) won for the 14th time in their last 15 games at home and improved to 36-2 all-time against the Bengals (5-11, 3-4 BSC) in Missoula.

Montana was slow out of the gate, with just two field goals in the opening four and a half minutes, but a 3-pointer by McCalle Feller less than a minute after she checked into the game sparked the Lady Griz offense, and Montana rolled to a 35-15 halftime lead.

The Lady Griz built their advantage with a lockdown effort on the defensive end and efficient play on the offensive end.

Facing the Big Sky's leading defense, the Bengals hit just four first-half baskets and shot 17.4 percent.

Carly Selvig swatted three first-half shots, and Montana held ISU senior guard Lindsey Reed, who was averaging a team-high 14.9 points entering the game, without a point through the opening 20 minutes.

On the other end, the Lady Griz committed just two first-half turnovers and shot 39.4 percent while getting scoring from seven different players. Jordan Sullivan scored 10 first-half points.

"We had a great first half on the defensive end. We came out ready to go and communicated and worked hard. Carly took away the inside in the first half, and they struggled," UM coach Robin Selvig said.

"We didn't have much scoring to start with, but McCalle hit a couple against their zone to get us going."

The second-half lead reached 30 points, 67-37, when freshman Kayleigh Valley hit a 3-pointer with 4:08 to go, but those would be Montana's final points as ISU ended the game on an 11-0 run to close the final margin to 19 points.

Sullivan finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, and her 3-for-3 effort from 3-point range makes her 13 for 17 (.765) from the arc the last six games.

Redshirt junior Kellie Cole had 11 points, and Selvig was a factor on both ends, finishing with 7 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks and 3 assists.

Valley, who had a season-high 10 points in Saturday's 57-54 loss at Northern Colorado, had her second nice offensive outing in two games with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.

She hit both of her attempts from 3-point range as Montana finished with 11 for the game, one off its season high.

Montana had 18 assists and a season-low five turnovers while shooting 38.5 percent.

Kara Jenkins and Jessica Tingey both scored 10 points, but they couldn't make up for the lack of production from Reed, who did not score until the 13:15 mark of the second half and finished with a season-low five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Idaho State shot 44.8 percent in the second half to finish at 32.7 for the game.

Montana's four-game home stand will continue Saturday afternoon when the Lady Griz host Weber State (4-12, 0-7 BSC) at 2 p.m. The Wildcats lost at Montana State Thursday night 87-71 for their 45th straight Big Sky Conference loss.

In other league games Thursday, Northern Colorado won 86-82 in overtime at Northern Arizona, Southern Utah won 69-60 at home over Portland State, and Sacramento State won 110-104 at home over North Dakota.

Montana State Women Begin Three-Game Home-Stand with Win Over Bengals

The Montana State women's basketball team fought off a second-half Weber State rally with an 8-0 run midway through the final period and cruised to its sixth straight victory in an 87-71 decision over the Wildcats, Thursday night in Worthington Arena.

Montana State (11-5, 6-1) received three consecutive baskets from post players Kayla DeWit, Ashley Brumwell and Alexa Dawkins in a two minute span to fend off an 11-4 Weber State (4-12, 0-7) run. Jackie Elliott's 10-foot bank shot with 10:19 remaining gave MSU an 11-point advantage and the Bobcats cruised to the victory.

"I thought we did a great job with our composure," Montana State head coach Tricia Binford said. "We knew Weber State would make a run, but we answered the challenge and had a bunch of different kids step-up to get the job done."

Montana State held a 46-37 cushion at intermission by virtue of a seven-of-nine effort from behind the three-point arc. Kalli Durham connected on three-of-three treys, while Brumwell nailed both of her 3-point attempts.

Bobcat point-guard Ausha Cole was saddled with foul trouble throughout the contest, but finished with a game-high six assists and three steals. Lindsey Stockton came off the bench to spark the Bobcats from the top in Cole's absence. The Spokane product finished with 14 points in 15 minutes of action.

"Lindsey really impacted the game in both halves," Binford said. "I can't say enough about our bench coming in and lifting our level of play."

Brumwell paced MSU with 19 points, while Durham poured in 15 points, including four triples. For the fourth straight game, the Bobcats shot over 50 percent in the second stanza. DeWit led MSU under the glass with a team-best nine rebounds.

"I really like our mentality coming out of halftime," Binford said. "Our kids are being unselfish and our balance scoring the ball has been pretty good."

Weber State was led by Amanda Hughes with 25 points, including five 3-pointers.

MSU will host Idaho State on Saturday at 2 p.m., in Shroyer Gym.

Montana State Men Fall to Weber State

Weber State hit eight of its first 12 shots to build a 21-5 lead and never looked back, rolling to an 86-57 win over the Montana State in Ogden on Thursday.

Davion Berry scored a game-high 25 points and Joel Bolomboy registered a double-double for the Wildcats, who ran their conference home-court win streak to 23 games. All five Weber State starters scored in double-digits. Weber State shot 62.6% on the night, the highest percentage against the Bobcats since the Wildcats shot 64% last February.

The Bobcats regrouped after Weber State's opening salvo, drawing to within 31-23 with three-and-a-half minutes to play in the first half on a Calen Coleman layup. But the Wildcats answered with a Jordan Richardson jumper and a pair of Davian Berry free throws. The teams traded three-pointers in the final minute, with Berry's at the seven second mark boosting the WSU lead to 38-28 at halftime.

The Bobcats pulled to within seven on a Marcus Colbert and-one 44 seconds into the second half, but Richardson answered with a three-pointer. After Kyle Tresnak's layup with 17:18 left pushed the WSU lead to 45-35, MSU never drew to within single-digits again.

Paul Egwuonwu led MSU with 14 points, and Colbert added 10. MSU shot 36.8% for the game, 32% after the intermission. The Wildcats shot 66.7% in the second half.

MSU fell to 9-9 overall and 4-3 in league play with the loss, while Weber State maintained a share of the Big Sky lead by going to 9-6 overall, 6-1 in the conference. The Bobcats play at Idaho State Saturday at 7 pm, while Weber State hosts Montana.

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