MENâ€™S BASKETBALL SHOOTING GOES COLD IN 60-48 LOSS AT MONTANA
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Anthony Johnson (24), Kyle Sharp (14) and Jordan Hasquet (14) combined for 48 of Montana’s 60 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 60-48 victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at the Nest.
Montana starters Johnson, Sharp, Hasquet, Jack McGillis (4) and Ryan Staudacher (4) combined to score all 60 of the Grizzlies’ points as no UM bench player cracked into the scoring column. No team led by more than four points during the entire first half as Montana went into halftime with a 28-25 lead.
However, the Grizzlies opened the second half on a 17-5 run to take a commanding 45-30 lead with 9:12 remaining in the contest. Sacramento State converted on just one field goal during the first 11:02 of the second half and had scored just five points in the entire half until Jared Stigall knocked down a three-pointer with 8:58 remaining. By that time, Montana had already built a large lead, and Sacramento State would not get no closer than eight points of the Grizzlies’ lead the rest of the way.
Sacramento State struggled from the field and the free throw line, converting on just 32.7 percent (17-52) of its shots from the field, 17.6 percent (3-17) from the three-point line and 61.1 percent (11-18) from the charity stripe. The Hornets made just 26.1 percent (6-23) of their attempts in the second half.
With the victory, Montana (15-9, 9-3) won its sixth straight and moved into sole possession of second place in the Big Sky standings, 1.5 games behind first-place Weber State. The top six teams in the nine-member league reach the Big Sky Tournament (March 7-11), and the top two teams receive a first-round bye.
Sacramento State dropped its fourth straight while falling to 2-23 overall and 1-11 in the Big Sky. The Hornets, who have just one home game remaining on the schedule, are now 5-26 all-time against the Grizzlies.
“That long drought we sustained in the second half proved to be the difference in the game,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “We limited our turnovers (9), but we just couldn’t shoot it well from the field or the free throw line. I was happy with our effort, but our inability to score for long stretches of a game continues to haunt us.”
While the Hornets struggled to make shots, Montana was efficient from the field, finishing the game shooting 46.8 percent (22-47) from the floor. The Grizzlies converted on just two three-pointers all evening, but they also buried 14-of-16 (.875) from the free throw line, including 10-of-12 from Johnson. Sharp’s 14 points accompanied 10 rebounds as he recorded his second double-double of the season and third of his career. Hasquet went 6-of-11 from the field and knocked down both of Montana’s three-pointers.
Sacramento State, which held its last lead of the game at 20-19 with 5:39 left in the first half, received 15 points from senior Loren Leath and 11 from junior Justin Eller. Eight of the 10 Sacramento State players that appeared in the game finished in the scoring column. Leath, who was the conference leader in three-pointers a week ago, has been shut out from beyond the arc each of the last two games. Eller finished 5-of-11 from the floor to go along with five rebounds, two assists and two steals in a team-high tying 33 minutes.
Junior Michael Selling had seven points and five rebounds, senior Randy Adams had four points and six rebounds, and junior Antonio Flaggs added four points, four rebounds and a game-high three steals. No Hornet player shot better than 50.0 percent from the field.
Sacramento State returns to action for its final home game of the season this Saturday, Feb. 14, at 7:05 p.m. Hornet seniors Leath, Adams and Donald Thomas will be honored prior to the game for their contributions to the program. After Saturday’s game, the Hornets will conclude the season on a three-game road trip.