Montana tops Weber State, wins Big Sky tourneyMar 8, 2012 - 6:45 AM Missoula, MT (Sports Network) - Mathias Ward and Kareem Jamar both scored 23 points, as Montana used home cooking and a feast of three-pointers to overwhelm Weber State, 85-66, to claim the Big Sky Tournament title and its automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Derek Selvig scored 16 points with nine rebounds, Will Cherry added 13 points and Art Steward capped all five Grizzlies starters in double figures with 10 points.
Montana (25-6) drained 12 three-pointers and won its eighth Big Sky Tournament title. The Grizzlies are headed back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.
Damian Lillard scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Weber State (24-6), which led by five points at the half, but were stampeded by the Grizzlies' 54-point second half.
"I thought Montana played an unbelievable second half," said Weber State coach Randy Rahe. "I haven't seen a team shoot the ball like that for a long time. So the credit has to go to them, but it wasn't because our kids didn't fight."
Weber State rattled off the game's first seven points and held an 18-8 lead on Lillard's three-pointer about 6 1/2 minutes in. Montana stormed back with 10 straight points after the halfway point to square the contest at 25-25 on Selvig's trey.
Weber State regained its footing and captured a nine-point edge at 36-27 on Lillard's layup with just under two minutes to go. Weber State took a 36-31 lead into the locker room.
The Wildcats were just 20 minutes from the NCAA Tournament, but instead got steamrolled in the second half. The Grizzlies drained three triples in the first three-plus minutes to take a 42-40 lead on Ward's long-distance jumper. Jamar connected from three-point territory for a 50-43 advantage, and his trey just before the eight-minute mark opened a 58-47 lead. Montana scored 27 points in the first 12 minutes of the second half.
Weber State couldn't handle the wave of momentum, cutting the deficit to seven at 61-54 on Lillard's layup, but never getting any closer. Ward's three-point play with about 4 1/2 minutes to go made the score 70-56, and the march to the tournament was on.
"What a second half," said Montana coach Wayne Tinkle. "Weber came out and hit us in the mouth but we told our guys to hang in there. I thought our guys did a really good job of not panicking."
Montana downed Weber State, 66-65, in the title game two years ago...Montana made 55 percent of its shots, while Weber State connected on 48 percent...The Grizzlies didn't lose a conference game at home this season...Weber State dropped a 66-51 decision at Montana just eight days ago.
- WEBER STATE: 66
Mar 7 11:07 PM
- WEBER STATE: 36
Mar 7 9:53 PM
- WEBER STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 7 9:12 PM
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