Feb. 28, 2008
MISSOULA, Mont.. - The Montana men's basketball team hit nine three-pointers in the first half en route to an 81-66 victory over the University of Northern Colorado Thursday evening in Missoula. Northern Colorado moves to 12-16 overall and 5-10 in the Big Sky Conference, while the Grizzlies improve to 14-14 overall and 8-7 in league play.
The loss knocks the Bears out of contention for the Big Sky Tournament with one game remaining on Saturday evening at Montana State.
Junior Jabril Banks hit double figures for the 10th consecutive game, leading the team with 15 points, while freshman guard Devon Beitzel came off the bench to score 12, senior guard Sean Taibi scored 11 and freshman forward Neal Kingman, who also came off the bench, scored 10 and led the team with six rebounds. Senior guard Terry Anderson led the team with five assists.
Northern Colorado got back on track from the free throw line, combining to shoot .929 (13-of-14). They also shot .421 from the field and .333 from three-point range (5-for-15).
Three Montana players each scored 16, in Andrew Strait, who also led the team with 13 rebounds, Ryan Staudacher and Cameron Rundles. Jordan Hasquet also chipped in 14 points and had a game-high six steals. Ceylon Elgin-Taylor had more than half of the Grizzlies assists with 11 on the night.
Montana shot .484 for the game, including .563 in the first half, and .379 from the three-point line (11-of-29), nailing nine in the first half. They also shot .667 (10-for-15) from the free throw line.
The teams were identical in rebounds, bringing down nine offensive and 34 total. The Bears had 12 assists, eight steals and no blocked shots on the evening while the Grizzlies had 21 assists, 12 steals and two blocks.
Montana led the entire game and extended it to 26 with 13:35 in the second half, but the Bears went on a 17-0 run to cut the game to nine with 2:31 remaining, 73-64. A Montana timeout snapped the run and the Grizzlies made five of their six free throws in the final 1:38 to seal the victory.
Northern Colorado closes out the 2007-08 season on Saturday at Montana State. The Bobcats lost 96-68 to Portland State earlier this evening, giving the Vikings the Big Sky title outright and they will host the league tournament at the Rose Garden March 11-12.