Big Sky Basketball Wrap, Thursday 1/30 - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Basketball Wrap, Thursday 1/30

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T-Birds down Bobcat Hoopsters

Despite a career-high 24 points from sophomore Jasmine Hommes, including 20 in the final half, Montana State couldn't overcome foul trouble and Southern Utah's Hailey Mandelko down the stretch as the Thunderbirds posted an 87-81 win over the Bobcats, Thursday night in Worthington Arena.

Montana State (11-7, 6-3) seemed to have things under control in the first half, opening up a 16-point lead midway through the period following a pair of Jackie Elliott free throws. MSU opened the game connecting on its first six 3-point attempts. Three more charity tosses via Elliott closed out the first stanza as the Bobcats entered intermission with a 46-38 advantage.

"We were in a good flow and knocking down shots in the first half," MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. "In the second half, we lost discipline and got a little rattled."

Montana State held the lead until Mandelko hit a floater from the free throw line with 3:28 remaining to give Southern Utah (12-6, 6-3) its first advantage of the game. After Hommes converted the back end of two free throw attempts, Mandelko hit a triple at the 2:56 mark and the T-Birds never relinquished the lead in the waning moments. Mandleko's third 3-pointer of the night gave SUU a six-point margin with 1:47 left to secure the win.

For the game, Hommes led four Bobcat players in double-digits connecting on 11-of-19 from the field. Also in double-figures were Elliott 17, Ausha Cole 10, and Kayla DeWit 10. Elliott ended with a team-high 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the season.

In all, sixty-seven free throws were attempted between the two squads, with SUU holding a 20-8 advantage from the line in the final period. MSU's leading scorer Ashley Brumwell fouled out with 3:52 remaining and finished with just seven points. The Hamilton product did match a career-high six assists.

SUU held a sizable 47-35 advantage under the boards, which included 17 offensive rebounds.

Mandelko finished with 22 points, while Carli Moreland posted 19 points and 15 rebounds.

MSU will travel to Montana on Monday night.


Jamar leads Griz in 69-61 win at SUU

Senior Kareem Jamar made the best of his 100th career start, as he scored a game-high 25 points to lead the University of Montana Grizzlies to a 69-61 Big Sky Conference win over the host Southern Utah Thunderbirds Thursday evening in Centrum Arena.

It was by no means an easy victory for Montana, but the Griz used a much more efficient shooting effort in the second half to improve to 4-5 in league and 9-9 overall. The Thunderbirds, meanwhile, suffered their 17th loss in a row, going to 0-9 in the conference and 1-17 overall.

The Thunderbirds took their seventh and final lead of the contest with 5:16 remaining at 52-51 on a lay-up by forward Casey Oliverson. The Griz re-took the lead for good at 53-52, on a pair of free throws by sophomore center Andy Martin with 4:57 left to play.

After Martin's charity shots, he Griz out-scored the T-Birds 11 to 4 over the next four-plus minutes, and when Martin blocked a shot it led to a fastbreak lay-up by junior guard Keron DeShields, as UM took an eight point (64-56) lead with 1:08 to go. It was a free throw contest after that, but SUU never got any closer than seven points (UM's lead was 68-61, with 17 seconds left).

Montana overcame a cold first half of shooting by making 13-of-20 (65.0%) shots from the floor and 5-of-7 treys (71.4%) in the final 20 minutes. In the opening half UM made just 7-of-22 (31.8%) field goal tries and 2-of-9 (22.2%) three-pointers.

"It's never a thing of beauty when we play these guys, but I am proud of our effort – we really had some guys step up," said UM head coach Wayne Tinkle on KGVO Radio on his post-game show. "Kareem was huge for us, scoring the ball and passing the ball. Kareem was just Kareem. Jordan Gregory did a great job defensively on (sophomore forward A.J., who had 8 points ) Hess. I am super proud of JG (Gregory) for that. It was a good, gusty win for us when we were not at our best."

True freshman guard Mario Dunn was a key to Montana's success in the opening minutes of the second half, scoring nine points and making two steals, and his steal and lay-up with 15:38 to go gave the Griz a 34-33 edge. SUU had led 25-22 at halftime.

Jamar, a 6-5 guard/forward from Venice, Calif., was 7-of-12 from the floor, made 3-of-4 treys, and went 8-of-13 from the line, and also had a team-high 5 assists. It was Jamar's eighth game of the season of scoring 20 or more points. He made 4-of-4 shots in the second half and scored 14 points.

Also in double figures for the Griz were junior guard Jordan Gregory with 15, DeShields had 12, and Dunn added 11. Gregory tallied 13 points in the second half, while Dunn had all 11 of his points in the final stanza. Martin led UM with 4 rebounds and he also had two blocks and two assists.

Jamar now has 372 career assists, which moves him into a tie with former Griz great M.R. Richardson (372, 1974-78) for the fifth most all-time. Jamar passed Marc Glass who was ranked sixth on the career list with 369 assists from 1980-84.

True freshman guard Trey Kennedy, SUU's leading scorer, led the T-Birds with 17 points, 11 of them coming from the line. Oliverson, a 6-8 sophomore, added 14 points and grabbed a game-high 7 rebounds.

The Grizzlies conclude a four-game league road trip, playing the Montana State Bobcats in Bozeman on Monday, Feb. 3. The Griz-Cat game will be televised on Altitude TV. The Thunderbirds host the Bobcats this coming Saturday, Feb. 1.

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