Big Sky Basketball Scores & Highlights, Thursday 1/1 - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Basketball Scores & Highlights, Thursday 1/1

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Montana beats Northern Colorado 66-48

Jordan Gregory scored 24 points, including six 3-pointers, Martin Breunig scored 18, and Montana beat Northern Colorado 66-48 on Thursday night to open Big Sky Conference play.

Brandon Gfeller scored 15, including five 3-pointers, and the Grizzlies (4-7, 1-0) shot 11 of 31 from distance (35.5 percent).

The lead changed hands 10 times and there were four ties before Breunig made a layup to spark a 10-2 run and Montana pulled ahead 26-20. Breunig scored his 12th point of the half on a dunk to cap a 7-0 run and the Grizzlies led 33-21 at halftime. Gregory scored 13 points in the half.

Gfeller hit three straight 3-pointers and Montana used a 13-2 run to pull away 50-34 in the second half. Gregory hit consecutive 3s for a 60-36 lead with 8:16 to play and the Grizzlies stayed ahead.

Cameron Michael led Northern Colorado (5-7, 0-1) with 15 points

Lady Griz heat up, win Big Sky opener on the road

McCalle Feller scored a career-high 21 points and Montana shot 55.6 percent in the second half to rally for a 64-58 victory over Northern Colorado Thursday afternoon at UNC's Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.

The Lady Griz (8-4, 1-0 BSC), who won their sixth straight game, trailed 26-21 at the half but outscored the Bears 43-32 in the second half to snap a three-game losing streak at Northern Colorado. It was also Montana's third straight road victory. Two of those wins have come after trailing by five at the break.

“I really think it's a good sign,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “You're down at the half and you're on the road. Are you going to have a mature team that can go out and handle those situations? We did, and we took control of the game.”

That Montana did would have come as a surprise to anyone who watched the first half.

The Lady Griz were getting it done defensively, holding Northern Colorado to 28.0 percent shooting, but Montana went just 5 for 24 (.208) and scored a season-low 21 first-half points.

After redshirt junior Hannah Doran put Montana up 13-11 at the 8:32 mark, the Lady Griz would not score another field goal until redshirt senior Kellie Rubel's basket in the paint in the closing seconds.

The Lady Griz managed to stay close because they had only five turnovers in the first half and held Northern Colorado's starters to 13 points on 3-of-16 shooting.

“I told the team at halftime, let's not get frustrated. I thought we played well. We weren't scoring, but we were doing a good job defensively,” said Selvig.

“I know we have some players who can make some shots. I just didn't think we'd make as many as we did the second half. We came out and lit it up from three.”

Redshirt senior Carly Selvig was limited to just five minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls. She had a putback and hit a jumper on Montana's first two possessions of the second half, and that sparked the offense to life.

Rubel hit a 3-pointer on Montana's next possession to tie it at 28, just 70 seconds into the second half, and the Lady Griz, who matched their first-half scoring output in the opening eight minutes of the second half, were off and running.

Feller, who would go 4 for 4 from the arc in the second half and 6 for 8 for the game, tied things at 38 with a three, and that started a 15-1 run that put Montana up 50-39 at the eight-minute mark.

Rubel and senior Maggie Rickman also had 3-pointers in the decisive surge. Montana went 7 for 10 from 3-point range in the second half, 10 for 21 for the game, season highs in both makes and percentage.

“We finally made shots in the second half. You feel like you're a really good team when they're going down,” said Selvig.

Feller appeared to insert the dagger when she hit a 3-pointer from 10 feet behind the top of the key and the shot clock running down to put Montana up 60-50 with just 1:17 to go.

A Lady Griz turnover and a missed front-end free throw allowed the Bears to score on three straight possessions and trim the lead to 60-56 with 15 seconds left, but Feller and Rubel both went 2 for 2 from the line in the final seconds to give Montana the victory.

“This is a really good win for us, because they are a darn good basketball team,” said Selvig. “We moved the ball, we got good shots, and we were in charge of it in the second half at their place.

“From the mental-toughness side of things, that was really good.”

Feller scored 14 of her 21 points in the second half, Rubel finished with 14, giving her 982 for her career, and Rickman added nine points and a team-high six rebounds.

The bench added just eight points, but it also had only one turnover. Montana had eight for the game and now has a mere 25 the last three games.

Montana, which leads the nation in blocked shots, had just one against the Bears, who scored 28 points in the paint.

UNC center Stephanie Lee scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Her quick, back-to-the-basket spin moves in the post kept her free of the long arms of Selvig, who had blocked 29 shots in Montana's previous four games.

D'Shara Strange led Northern Colorado, which went 3 for 20 from 3-point range, with 16 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Kyleigh Hiser added 14 points off the bench.

Montana will face preseason league favorite North Dakota (8-4) Saturday at 1 p.m. (MT) at Grand Forks. UND hosts Montana State Thursday night.

Bobcats Fall to North Dakota in League Opener
The new year brought new habits for the Montana State men's basketball team, and not good ones.

The Bobcats dropped their Big Sky opener to North Dakota 67-60 on Thursday, turning the ball over 15 times and shooting just 66.7% from the free throw line. “We did a lot of things that were uncharacteristic for us that we hadn't done before,” said Bobcat coach Brian Fish.

Montana State entered the game shooting 76.5% from the line, 10th in the nation, and countered 38.3% shooting for the season by taking care of the basketball. MSU turned the ball over only 14 times per game entering the contest, and gave it away 15 times in a slow-paced game Thursday.

Fish said North Dakota's ability to dictate tempo was a key to the game. “They got into their pace of play and we fell for it. We didn't get it up and down. They got it going their way and were able to do some things.”

The game featured alternating scoring runs and periods of sloppy play, and the first significant run came early. With MSU leading 14-7 midway through the first half, North Dakota scored nine straight points and held the Cats without a field goal for 10:20 in building a 27-17 lead near the end of the period.

From that point, the Bobcats rallied. MSU scored five of the last six points of the first half, then eradicated UND's 28-22 halftime lead by three-pointers from Terrell Brown and Michael Dison to open the second stanza. After MSU took a 33-30 lead on a three-pointer by Eric Norman and Marcus Colbert's layup, UND answered.

North Dakota scored the next nine points on baskets by four different players. UND led 39-33 with 14:18 to play and never trailed again. The Cats pulled to within one just inside the eight-minute mark and the North Dakota lead didn't grow to its biggest point of nine until inside two minutes.

Three UND players scored in double-digits, including a pair off the bench. Carson Shanks scored 12 points, his first for UND since transferring from Utah State, while Quinton Hooker scored a team-high 16 and Lenny Antwi added 10. MSU held UND's leading scorer Jaron Nash to just six points, but he grabbed seven boards.

Michael Dison scored 22 points to lead the Cats, his third 20-point game of the season. Danny Robison scored 11, and Marcus Colbert added 10 points and seven assists. But, Dison and Colbert combined to turn the ball over nine times. Eric Norman led all players with 10 rebounds.

Montana State fell to 3-10 with the loss, 0-1 in league play, while North Dakota is 5-7 overall, 1-0 in the Big Sky. The Bobcats host Northern Colorado at 2:35 pm Saturday.

Montana State Women Fall in Big Sky Opener

Despite five players in double-figure scoring the Montana State women's basketball team didn't ring in the New Year as they expected.

Instead, North Dakota received a career-high 22 points from Megan Lauck, including a five-of-10 effort from beyond the arc, along with 21 second-chance points to notch an 82-74 win over the Bobcats in the Big Sky opener for both teams, Saturday night in the Betty Engelstad Center.

North Dakota (9-4, 1-0) held a sizeable 42-29 margin under the boards and connected on six more free throws than Montana State (6-6, 0-1) to secure the victory.

“North Dakota is ranked No. 1 for a reason,” MSU Head Coach Tricia Binford said. “They're a strong squad. However, I really liked the way we stuck together when we got in foul trouble. We gave ourselves a chance. Unfortunately, the things that we struggled with early in the season came back, mainly winning the boards and the foul line.”

MSU held an early 23-19 lead at the 9:22 mark of the opening stanza on a Lindsay Stockton layin. UND answered with a 9-5 run to even the score at 28-all at 4:14 mark. North Dakota close out the period on a 14-5 run to take a 42-33 advantage at intermission.

The Bobcats opened the second half chipping the lead down to four points on three occasions and trailed 53-49 with 13:51 remaining on a pair of Delany Junkermier free throws.

UND answered with eight unanswered points and never looked back.

“I think we started worrying about our foul trouble and didn't pursue the ball as aggressively as we needed too,” Binford said. “We have a lot of games left. We'll stick together and move on.”

Jackie Elliott led the Bobcats with a team-high 16 points. She was followed in scoring by Jasmine Hommes 14, Junkermier 13, Stockton 12 and Peyton Ferris 10. Stockton recorded her first career double-double adding a season-best ten assists. Alexa Dawkins and Ferris guided MSU under the boards with five rebounds each.

For the game, MSU shot 50 percent from the field, while holding UND to 45 percent. The Bobcats committed 18 turnovers, while North Dakota posted 14 miscues.

Montana State will play at Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon.

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