Big Sky Conference Wrap, Thursday 2/6 - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Conference Wrap, Thursday 2/6

Griz Begin 2nd Half with OT Win

Keron DeShields scored 11 of his 19 points in overtime and Kareem Jamar scored 19 as Montana defeated Portland State 82-76 on Thursday.

Michael Weisner had 15 points for Montana (11-9, 6-5 Big Sky), all in the first half, including 13 in a 4:17 span that tied the game at 17 after PSU had taken a 10-2 lead. Mario Dunn added 10.

Kyle Richardson, a senior transfer from Long Beach, had his best game for the Vikings (11-9, 6-5) with 25 points and 12 rebounds, 7 offensive. Gary Winston had 16 points.

DeShields layup with 16 seconds left sent the game into OT and then he hit all three of his shots, including a three-point play, and two free throws.

Jamar, the Grizzlies' leading scorer at 19 a game, only had four at half, all in the final 2 minutes when UM opened a 34-26 lead.

Lady Griz win fifth straight with second-half rally

Montana shot 62.5 percent in the second half to rally from an eight-point halftime deficit and post a 65-55 victory at Portland State Thursday night at PSU's Stott Center.

The victory kept the Lady Griz (14-6, 8-3 BSC), who have won five straight games, alone in second place in the Big Sky Conference standings, one in the loss column behind league leader North Dakota and one game up on Sacramento State and Idaho State.

After watching the Vikings shoot 50 percent in the first half, grab 18 rebounds to his team's eight and take a 33-25 lead to the locker room, Montana coach Robin Selvig made the switch from man-to-man defense to zone for the second half, and that decision changed the game.

The Vikings shot 37.5 percent in the second half and scored just six points in the paint as Montana outscored the home team 40-22 over the final 20 minutes.

Junior Carly Selvig matched a career high with six blocks Thursday, giving her 26 over the last six games.

"They were doing a nice job in the first half," Selvig said of the Vikings. "They were running a lot of movement and doing some nice things. They got comfortable and shot good threes.

"The zone was definitely better for us. Carly in the middle of that thing was an empty hole for them. They couldn't shoot over her. She got six blocks but it felt like 10. They didn't know what to do, because they couldn't get any inside action."

But Montana still needed to get its offense on track after its lowest-scoring first half since November. The Lady Griz shot a decent percentage for the half of 41.7, but Portland State had an 18-8 advantage on the boards, including seven offensive rebounds that led to seven second-chance points.

Junior Maggie Rickman scored five quick points early in the second half, her only points of the game, and Montana opened the half on a 12-0 run, capped by a 3-pointer by junior Kellie Cole that gave the Lady Griz a 37-33 lead.

Portland State would retake the lead midway through the half, but an 8-0 run, with six of the points coming from Cole, gave Montana, which defeated the Vikings 94-58 last month in Missoula, a lead it would hold the final 10:07.

"After struggling in the first half and playing poorly and having a hard time guarding them, we found a way to get it going the second half," said Selvig, whose team improved to 2-3 in Big Sky road games.

"This is a great win for us. We're on the road against a team that we beat badly the first time, but they aren't a bad team. They get a good first-half start, they are feeling good about themselves, and we're not scoring."

Cole had 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first matchup against the Vikings. She did nearly as much damage on Thursday, finishing with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting.

Senior Torry Hill, who was held without a 3-pointer for the first time this season, added 11 points, 7 assists and 3 steals. Selvig had 8 points, 6 blocks and 3 assists.

Montana's bench contributed 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, leading Selvig to conclude, "We got good minutes out of everyone again."

The Lady Griz had just 10 turnovers for the second straight game and were +4 on the boards in the second half.

Mikaela Rivard and Allie Brock both led Portland State with 11 points. Brock added 7 rebounds and 4 assists.

Montana can now turn its attention to an important matchup against Eastern Washington (10-10, 6-5 BSC), the Big Sky Conference preseason favorite which whipped Montana State Thursday night 81-66.

The Lady Griz and Eagles will tip off Saturday at 3 p.m. (MT) at EWU's Reese Court. Montana won the first meeting in Missoula 81-64.

In other league games Thursday night, North Dakota won 68-55 at home over Weber State, Sacramento State won 99-91 at Northern Arizona, and Idaho State won 79-71 at Northern Colorado.

Eastern Washington Rides Fast Start to Big Win over Bobcats

Eastern Washington built a double-digit lead in the game's first 10 minutes and never looked back, rolling to a 79-50 win over Montana State in Worthington Arena on Thursday.

"They got up on us from the get," said Montana State senior Calen Coleman. "We let them get comfortable in our house." That comfort level allowed the Eagles to shoot 52% inside the three-point circle and out, and a bigger lineup than EWU employed in a 77-72 loss in Cheney last month allowed Eastern to out-rebound the Bobcats 38-to-22.

"They executed well, went inside on us, kept balls alive and rebounded on us," said Bobcat coach Brad Huse. "They have length and size, that's no secret. When you (force) a miss it's frustrating when you don't get the board. It started inside, but they really can shoot the three. They have a nice combination that we didn't have any answers for tonight."

Eastern's onslaught started early. After a pair of Venky Jois free throws and a turnover by Paul Egwuonwu, Drew Brandon buried a three-pointer and short jumper to give the Eagles a five-point lead, then three layups by Martin Seiferth and one by Jois pushed the lead to double-digits. The Cats would never get closer than 10 points again.

"They're big and they shoot it well," Huse said. "We didn't respond."

Tyler Harvey, who hit four of his six three-point attempts, led four Eagles in double-digits with 19 points. Jois added 15. No Bobcat scored more than nine.

The win allowed Eastern to catch Montana State in the Big Sky standings, each with a 5-6 record. Each team is also 10-12 overall. The Bobcats host Portland State on Saturday, while the Eagles visit Montana.

Eastern Washington Runs Past Bobcat Women

Eastern Washington outscored Montana State 18-0 in fast break points, en route to an 81-66 win over the Bobcats, Thursday night at Reese Court.

"They were one step ahead of us the entire game," MSU head coach Tricia Binford said. "They were making their shots, got rolling and had the energy. We struggled."

Eastern Washington (10-10, 6-5) shot 53 percent from the field, while holding Montana State (11-9, 6-5) to 37 percent. EWU also held a 42-29 advantage under the boards.

"Our transition defense didn't get it done," Binford said. "We didn't find our match-ups and didn't get stops. On the offensive end, we were impatient."

Bobcat sophomore Jasmine Hommes scored the game's first two baskets, before the Eagles went on a 20-5 run over the next six-minutes to open up a double-digit lead. Montana State closed to within 22-19 following an Ashley Brumwell 3-pointer, but Eastern Washington pushed the margin to 43-27 at intermission.

Eastern Washington continued its hot-hand and took its largest lead at 53-34 five minutes into the second stanza. Montana State chipped the lead down to ten points with 5:06 left on a pair of Lindsay Stockton, but would get no closer.

"We did a nice job getting the lead down, but we just couldn't get back into single figures," Binford said.

Hommes led MSU for the third straight game with 20 points, connecting on nine-of-17 from the field. Over the last three outings the Lynden, Wash., product has averaged over 20 points per game. Also in double-digits for the Bobcats were Brumwell 14, and Stockton 10.

"Lindsay came in and gave us a nice spark," Binford said.

Stockton also finished with a game-high five assists.

EWU had all five starters in double-figures paced by Aubrey Ashenfelter and Lexie Nelson with 16 points each.

Montana State will play at Portland State on Saturday at 3 p.m. (MST).

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