Griz Best Bobcats – Men and Women to Host Big Sky Conference Tournament
The Montana Grizzlies beat Montana State 70-54 in the final Big Sky regular season game Saturday night, and with the win the Griz earned the right to host the Big Sky Conference tournament.
The Bobcats got off to a quick 13-4 lead thanks to Marcus Colbert who hit three shots from beyond the arc in the opening minutes of the game. Montana State also shut down the Griz early on not allowing UM to make a field goal for over six minutes. But the Griz battled back throughout the entire first half and chipped away at the lead before eventually taking a 31-27 advantage at the intermission.
The Griz outscored the Bobcats 39-27 in the second half and led by as many as 20 points late in the contest before eventually recording the victory.
"This is big time for a team that struggled early in the year," said Griz head basketball coach Travis DeCuire. "It took us a long time to get things in place, our rotations, our roles, we had to figure out how to win. For us to be where we're sitting right now I'm excited and if you told me in November we would be sitting here after all that adversity, I would have taken it."
"They're a well balanced team," said MSU head basketball coach Brian Fish. "They kind of have all the basics covered, they've got a couple guys that can shoot, they have a guard that can attack, they've got a big and they're a well balanced team."
Griz senior Chris Kemp was a difference maker scoring a game and career-high 17 points for Montana. Kemp dominated in the second half and at one point scored 10 consecutive points UM.
Sophomore Mario Dunn finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Brandon Gfeller and Martin Breunig also reached double-digits for Montana, scoring 10 points apiece. Breunig also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
With the win Montana clinched a share of the Big Sky Conference regular season championship with Eastern Washington, who defeated Weber State 79-71 in overtime Saturday night.
But Montana will host the tournament after winning a tiebreaker with the Eagles. The Big Sky tournament games begin Thursday, March 12, The top-seeded Grizzlies will take on preseason favorite Weber State at 8 p.m. in Dahlberg Arena.