Griz Take on Weber State in Big Sky Conference Title Game

By Beacon Staff

The University of Montana’s two dynamic guards, Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar, combined for 40 points as the Griz defeated the University of Northern Colorado Bears 70-56 Friday evening in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference tournament.

The victory advances Montana (24-6) to the Big Sky tourney championship game, Saturday, March 16, at 7 p.m., for the second year in a row. Once again the No. 1- seeded Grizzlies will play the No. 2-seed Weber State Wildcats (26-5) for the tourney title which gives the winner an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. Last year the Griz defeated the Wildcats 85-56 in the tourney championship game.

Saturday evening’s Big Sky Tournament Championship game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

NC (13-18) got within three points of the UM lead twice, the second one coming with 13:06 left to play when junior center Connor Osborne scored on a lay-up, making the score 41-38, Griz. But UM outscored the Bears 9-2 after that and took a 50-40 lead.

Montana, ranked 13th in the most recent Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, has now won 20 of its last 22 games. The Grizzlies’ 24 victories this season ties them with the 2005-06 team for the third most in school history. The Griz have now won 29 home games in a row over Big Sky teams.

Seventh-year head coach Wayne Tinkle’s team also tied a school record with the teams from 1983-86 earlier in the season by registering its fourth straight 20-win season. Montana has won 92 games over the last four seasons – a school record.

The Wildcats defeated the University of North Dakota 76-75 in the first semifinal game of the evening to earn a berth in the championship game. WSU, which had to overcome 12-point (UND led 56-44 with 15:44 left to play) deficit, was led by junior forward Davion Berry with 25 points. UND (16-16) was paced junior guard-forward Troy Huff’s 22 points.

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