Griz, Cats Clash in Bozeman

By Beacon Staff

The University of Montana and Montana State basketball teams will clash this weekend in Bozeman. The women tip off at 3 p.m. and men at 7 p.m. in Bozeman’s Worthington Arena.

The Lady Griz are atop the Big Sky Conference standings after a 70-54 victory over Southern Utah on Thursday night. Montana needs three more wins to win the regular-season championship and bring the Big Sky tournament back to Missoula for the first time since the 2008-09 season. Montana (20-6 overall, 14-3 in conference) won its fourth straight game Thursday and reached 20 wins for the 28th time in Lady Griz coach Robin Selvig’s 35 seasons.

The University of Montana men’s basketball team play the Bobcats in a key Big Sky Conference road game on Saturday, March 2.

The Griz are 19-6 overall and 15-1 in the Big Sky Conference. The Bobcats are 11-15 and 8-9. This is the 287th meeting, and MSU leads the series 147-139. The Griz have won five in a row.

UM enters weekend holding onto first place and a chance to draw the league tournament to Missoula, where the Grizzlies have not lost to a Big Sky opponent in several years.

Senior point guard Will Cherry was injured late in the Grizzlies’ game at Davidson on Feb. 23. Mathias Ward was hurt at Idaho State, Feb. 16. Neither will be able to play against MSU. Their future playing status is unknown at this time.

Cherry is UM’s all-time leader in career steals with 258, which ranks him second in Big Sky history. Cherry is seventh in career scoring with 1,429 points, and fourth in career assists (390).

Guard Kareem Jamar, however, is still playing strong. He averages 13.9 points and 6.2 rebounds a game, among the league’s top seven players in both categories.

Montana State remains in the thick of the five-team pack with either eight or nine conference victories. The Bobcats’ most consistent performer has been Christian Moon. The senior guard has averaged 13.4 points a game, and his five times leading the team in scoring (along with Antonio Biglow) is the most on the team in spite of the fact that he missed the first seven games. His three 20-point games is also the most on the team. Moon led the Bobcats with 17 points in Thursday’s win.

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