Grizzlies roll over Lumberjacks for Big Sky title
Flagstaff, AZ (Sports Network) – Virgil Matthews scored 21 points and Jordan
Hasquet added 20 along with 13 rebounds, as the duo lifted Montana to a 73-60
victory over Northern Arizona in the championship game of the Big Sky
Tournament at Walkup Skydome.
Matthews went 7-of-8 from the field and made all four of his three-point
attempts, while Hasquet made 9-of-14 field-goal tries as the second-seeded
Grizzlies (23-6) marched into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive
Tyrone Bazy had 16 points and Steven Sir chipped in 13 for the Lumberjacks
(21-10), the conference’s regular-season champion.
Montana broke open a tight game with a 12-0 first-half run, and kept the
Lumberjacks at bay the rest of the way to become the Big Sky’s first repeat
champion since Boise State won back-to-back tournament titles in 1993 and ’94.
Trailing 21-20 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the first half, Mike Chavez started
Montana’s game-changing spurt with a jumper and buried a three-pointer less
than a minute later to extend the lead to four.
Matthews then sunk three straight shots, including a three with 3:45 remaining
before intermission which put the Grizzlies up 32-21.
Montana carried a 36-25 advantage into halftime, behind 11 points from Hasquet
and 10 out of Matthews.
Northern Arizona made a bid early in the second half, as Josh Wilson and Sir
nailed consecutive three-pointers to pull the hosts within 38-33 three minutes
in. However, the Grizzlies responded with 11 straight points to pull away.
Matthews capped the run with a basket from beyond the arc, which extended
Montana’s cushion to 49-33 with 11 minutes to go.
The Lumberjacks never got closer than 11 points down thereafter and were
outrebounded 44-27 for the night.
Montana claimed its sixth Big Sky Tournament title, which trails only Weber
State (seven) for the most in conference history…Northern Arizona was
seeking its first NCAA berth since 2000. The Lumberjacks lost to Eastern
Washington in the 2004 Big Sky title game…UNA suffered only its second loss
in 15 home games this season. It had won 11 straight at Walkup Skydome since a
63-58 setback to Tulsa in December…This is the first time since 1999 that
both teams entered the league’s championship game with at least 20 overall
victories…Montana beat UNA 96-83 in Missoula on February 27 and the
Lumberjacks posted an 83-80 home decision over the Grizzlies on January 19.