Big Sky Basketball, Saturday 2/14 - News, Sports and Weather

Big Sky Basketball, Saturday 2/14

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Colbert's Buzzer-Beater Lifts Cats Over UND

The record books will show that Montana State beat North Dakota Saturday on the strength of Marcus Colbert's buzzer-beating jumper and Eric Norman's first career double-double. But first-year head coach Brian Fish traces the Bobcats' 80-78 come-from-behind stunner further back.

“These guys are having success because they have worked hard in practice all the way through this,” Fish said. “They've fought hard. They've believed in each other. And now they're being rewarded.”

Saturday's reward came in unlikely fashion. After junior point guard Marcus Colbert missed an attempted game-winner, the ball caromed right to him. He recalibrated, fired, and gave the Cats their first weekend sweep since winning at Idaho State and Weber State in 2004-05.

Colbert's shot capped a back-and-forth affair which MSU led by as many as nine in the first half, and trailed by seven with seven minutes left. The Bobcats eradicated that margin with a 14-1 run, 12 coming from Colbert. Zach Green's layup with just under two minutes left pushed MSU's lead to nine.

But the Green and White was not finished. A Terel de Rouen three-pointer cut the lead to six, and a jumper then two free throws by Jaron Nash trimmed it to two. With 27 seconds remaining, an Estan Tyler layup tied the score.

“Our guys are just so resilient,” Fish said. “They never stop fighting.”

Like most of MSU's league games, the Cats built big leads – by 10 in the first half on Saturday – only to watch it dissipate. Several heroes emerged Saturday. Colbert's 18 points and three rebounds, included inthe game-winning sequence, stand out. Michael Dison also poured in 18 points.

But Eric Norman's heroics, consistent throughout the conference season, came in a different form on this day. Steady in his rebounding and shot-swatting – he added 12 boards and two blocks Saturday – Norman had his best offensive day as a Bobcat when his team needed it most. The senior from San Diego was 9-for-10 from the field, 4-for-5 from the arc, for a career-high 22 points.

“Eric's work doesn't always show up in the scoring column,” Fish said. “But he has worked hard and stayed consistent. He had a great day today.”

With the weekend sweep, MSU is suddenly part of the Big Sky Tourney chase, bunched with two other teams at three wins and just a game behind North Dakota (4-9). The Cats host Weber State (5-9) and Idaho State (3-9, all before Saturday's games) next weekend.


Hommes Hits Career-High as Bobcat Women Defeat North Dakota

Feb. 14, 2015 – BOZEMAN, Montana – Montana State junior Jasmine Hommes posted a career-high 25 points to lead four Bobcats in double-figures as MSU defeated North Dakota 80-62, Saturday afternoon in Worthington Arena.

Hommes connected on ten-of-20 from the field and was five-of-five from the free throw line. In addition, the Lynden, Washington product added three rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist.

Montana State (11-13, 5-8) used a 10-0 run in the early minutes of the opening stanza building a seven-point advantage on a Jackie Elliott layup. The Bobcats held a 29-23 cushion at intermission.

“We wanted to establish ourselves as the aggressor,” MSU Head Coach Tricia Binford said. “We talked about coming out and throwing the first punch, and not wait for the game to come to us. I felt we did a nice job dictating the game from the start.”

The Bobcats opened the second half with a 16-4 run over the first six minutes and never looked back following an Elliott jumper at the 14:10 mark, giving MSU a 45-27 lead. Montana State connected on 11-of-14 free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win.

“It was a great team effort and I'm very proud of our seniors (Elliott, Kalli Durham, Ausha Cole) and how they responded following the disappointing loss to Northern Colorado on Thursday night,” Binford said. “Jasmine was demanding the ball and our guards did a nice job having an attack mentality.”

Also hitting double-digits for MSU were Durham 14, Elliott 10 and Peyton Ferris 10. Durham posted three triples, while Elliot, a senior from Billings, posted her first double-double of the year, hauling down 12 rebounds to guide the Bobcats under the glass. Ferris registered seven boards, as well.

Facilitating the Montana State offense was junior Lindsay Stockton, who finished with seven points, five rebounds and a game-high five assists. Cole paced MSU at the line converting seven-of-eight tosses for a season-best seven points.

For the game, the Bobcats shot 46 percent from the field, while holding UND to 31 percent, which included an icy 21 percent in the first half. Montana State out-rebounded North Dakota 46-36

UND was led in the loss by Emily Evers with 17 points and eight rebounds.

The Bobcats will play at Weber State on Thursday night.


Lady Griz Stunned at Home by UNC

Northern Colorado trailed by 10 points with eight minutes remaining Saturday afternoon against Montana at Dahlberg Arena, where the Lady Griz had won 23 straight games against Big Sky Conference opponents. A perfect situation for a pair of never-say-die UNC seniors.

Stephanie Lee's 3-pointer with 39 seconds left tied the game, and D'Shara Strange's step-back seven-footer with 2.6 seconds remaining won it as the Bears fought their way back for a 52-51 victory.

The dynamic twosome scored the Bears' final 10 points, and Northern Colorado (13-11, 7-6 BSC), which trailed 44-34, became the first Big Sky team since Montana State on Jan. 19, 2013, to beat Montana (17-7, 10-3 BSC) on its home floor.

How large of a role Montana played in Northern Colorado's comeback can be debated, but the Lady Griz certainly had a hand in it.

Montana made just two baskets over the final eight minutes, had an unforced turnover with 55 seconds remaining while up three and hit one of two free throws with 20 seconds left in a tie game, which allowed Strange to play hero.

After back-to-back timeouts by Northern Colorado with 10 seconds left, the Bears got the ball to Strange at the top of the key. She went left, which is her stronger drive side, and softly put a shot off the glass to give Northern Colorado its first lead since the 6:02 mark of the first half.

“It wasn't an easy shot, but you figure they were going to spread it out and have her go to the hole,” said UM coach Robin Selvig. “It wasn't a layup. She had to fade and shoot over (Maggie Rickman). She made a good play.”

With 2.6 seconds left, Montana opted to throw it full court, and the inbound pass found Kayleigh Valley at the top of the key. She shoveled it to Kellie Rubel, whose open but rushed shot from 15 feet hit the rim, hit the backboard and hit the rim again before falling off.

It was a game that never should have come down to a final shot.

Montana led 23-21 after a tight, well-defended first half, and the second half remained close until back-to-back 3-pointers by Shanae Gilham, one from the right wing, one from the left, put the Lady Griz up 44-34 with eight minutes left.

That's usually the death knell for a visiting team, but not one with unshakable seniors.

With Montana in the opening stages of its end-game scoring drought -- the Lady Griz finished the game missing seven of their final nine shots -- the Bears scored seven straight points to let the crowd of 3,220 know they weren't done quite yet.

After Northern Colorado cut the lead to 46-45 on a pair of Lee free throws with 2:30 remaining, Carly Selvig finished a sweet left-handed baby hook in the lane to up the lead to three.

Lee missed the front end of a one-and-one on UNC's next possession, and two free throws by Rubel put Montana up 50-45 with 1:34 left.

Strange hit a jumper to cut the led to three, and after Montana's unforced turnover, Lee connected on a 3-pointer, just her 14th of the season, from right in front of the UNC bench to make it 50-50 with 39 seconds remaining.

Kayleigh Valley missed for Montana at the other end, but she grabbed her own rebound and got the ball to Maggie Rickman, who was fouled with 20 seconds left.

Outside of giving up the offensive rebound, Northern Colorado couldn't have scripted it any better. Rickman is a 53 percent free throw shooter, and her first shot was long. Her second bounced in to make it 51-50. And the one-point margin changed everything.

“Since it's a one-point game you can't be too aggressive,” said Selvig about his team's defense against Strange in the closing seconds. “And there was enough time that if we'd run and doubled her, they could have had an open shot.

“That's how these things go. When it comes down to little things like that, you'll stay awake all night thinking over a whole bunch of things.”

Montana out-rebounded Northern Colorado by 10, but the Lady Griz shot 30.5 percent, its worst percentage since before Christmas and its worst shooting performance of the season at home.

“That was our nemesis today. We shot the ball poorly, but they did a good job defensively too,” Selvig said. “We did enough to win the game. We got up 10, but we couldn't score steadily enough to keep it there. Nobody had a great game offensively.”

Rubel finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists, but she missed 11 of her 16 shots. McCalle Feller had 13 points and Valley, who went 4 for 12, added 10. Rickman grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds, but she too struggled offensively, going 2 for 9.

Strange had her second double-double of the road trip, which opened Thursday with an 84-63 victory at Montana State, with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 12 rebounds. Lee added 14 points, while Kyleigh Hiser hit four 3-pointers to score 12 points.

Montana's loss tightened up the top of the Big Sky Conference standings. With three weeks of league games remaining, the Lady Griz are now up just one in the loss column on both Sacramento State (11-13, 9-4 BSC) and Eastern Washington (15-8, 8-4 BSC).

The Hornets won at home Saturday afternoon, 92-84 over Idaho. The Eagles, who hold a head-to-head win over Montana and get another shot at the Lady Griz on Feb. 28 in Missoula, won 77-63 at Portland State to finish off a two-game road sweep. EWU plays four of its last six games at home.

In other games Saturday, Montana State won 80-62 at home over fading North Dakota, and Northern Arizona won for the fifth time in six games, 56-52 at home over Weber State.

Idaho State plays at Southern Utah Saturday night.

Montana will play three of its final five regular-season games on the road, starting next week with a trip to Idaho State (11-12, 6-6 BSC) and Weber State (11-13, 6-7 BSC).

Montana Sports Information

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