Host Wildcats hold off Griz

OGDEN, Utah. — The University of Montana Grizzlies gave the league-favorite Weber State Wildcats all that they could handle, but it wasn’t quite enough, as host WSU defeated the Griz 68-63 Saturday evening in a Big Sky Conference contest in front of 8,556 mostly partisan fans in Dee Events Center. Griz-Wildcat stats

It was an intense contest featuring two of the Big Sky’s premier programs over the past several years, and featured 15 lead changes and 11 ties.

The Grizzlies (3-5 BCS/8-9 overall) knotted the game up for the 11th and final time when junior guard Jordan Gregory nailed a 3-pointer with 9:19 remaining, making the score 50-50.

Following Gregory’s game-tying try, the Wildcats took a 52-50 lead with 8:20 left to play on two free throws by 6-9 sophomore forward Joel Bolomboy, and they led the rest of the way.

The Cats jumped to a nine-point (62-53) advantage with 3:10 to go on two charity shots by 6-5 senior guard/forward Davion Berry.  But, as they had done all game long, the Griz made a comeback bid, cutting WSU’s lead to 62-58 on another trey by Gregory with 1:40 left to play.

The Griz trimmed the Cats’ lead to four (67-63) one final time with 18 seconds to go on a trey by senior guard/forward Kareem Jamar, but could not score again after that.  WSU improved to 7-1 in league play (10-6 overall) to remain in first place in the Big Sky.

“I was really proud of our guys,” said Griz head coach Wayne Tinkle on his post-game show on KGVO Radio.  “We came out and took the fight to them and battled hard.  The second half they hit a couple of tough shots; we had a defensive breakdown or two and we turned the ball over  – which just isn’t us.

“We said in the last few minutes of the game, ‘let’s just drive the ball and score it, or if we don’t score it we’ll get fouled and go to the line’,” Tinkle said.  “I thought we took a couple of quick threes late, and we also missed some one-on-ones – and we just shot ourselves in the foot.  I told them in the locker-room after the game though, that I thought that we really grew up on this road trip.”

Jamar led the Griz with 20 points, while junior forward Mike Weisner, who did not start for the second game in a row, scored a career-high 17 points.  Gregory chipped in 13 points, while fellow junior guard Keron DeShields added 11.  Gregory and Weisner led UM with 5 rebounds each.

Jamar had 4 assists in the game, giving him 367 for his career, breaking a tie with Roger Fasting (363, 1988-92) and passing J.R. Camel (365 assists, 1996-98), to move up to seventh all-time at UM.

Berry scored a game-high 22 points, while Bolomboy, the Big Sky’s leading rebounder, pulled down a career-high 19 boards and added 12 points.  WSU had a 37-28 rebounding advantage.

The Grizzlies play their third straight conference road game in a row next Thursday, Jan. 30, at Southern Utah.  WSU is on the road at Northern Arizona and Sac State next week.

— Montana Sports Information



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