MENâ€™S BASKETBALL OUTSCORED 6-0 OVER THE FINAL 59 SECONDS BEFORE LOSING AT MONTANA, 76-69
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Montana scored the game’s last six points and went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line over the final 33 seconds to defeat Sacramento State, 76-69, in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Wednesday evening at Dahlberg Arena.
The Hornets used two steals, a tip-in by Angel Alamo, a three-pointer from Alex Bausley, and a lay-up from Davon Roberts to slice an eight-point deficit (70-62) down to one point (70-69) with 1:00 to play. After a Montana timeout, the Grizzlies’ Jordan Hasquet committed a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass giving the Hornets a chance to take the lead. Bausley, who finished the game just 4-of-19 from the field, missed a runner in the lane with 51 seconds left that would have given Sacramento State a one-point advantage.
Montana grabbed the rebound, and Sacramento State senior Haron Hargrave inexplicably committed a foul on Cameron Rundles just over the halfcourt line with 33 seconds left on the game clock and 17 left on the shot clock. Rundles knocked down both free throws to put the Grizzlies back on top, 72-69. The Hornets had a chance to tie, but junior Kris Groce’s three-point attempt with 20 seconds left was off the mark and bounced out of bounds. Montana’s Stuart Mayes was immediately fouled on the inbounds pass and made both of his free throws to push the lead to 74-69 with 19 seconds left. Sacramento State missed two more three-point attempts down the stretch and Austin Swift put things away with a pair of free throws with four seconds remaining to ice the game.
Sacramento State took its largest lead of the second half at five points (57-52) on a Roberts putback with 8:11 remaining, but the Grizzlies responded with an 18-5 run over the next 6:24 to take their largest lead of the second half at 70-62. The Hornets then scored on three straight possessions to cut the Griz lead down to one point, but that was as close as Sacramento State would get. No team led by more than 10 points during the entire contest.
The Hornets lost for the eighth time in the last nine games, and dropped to 8-16 overall and 3-8 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State has dropped four straight on the road and fell to 2-11 away from the friendly confines. The Hornets, who defeated Montana (80-72) in Sacramento on Jan. 4, have lost three consecutive Big Sky games. The team is now 2.5 games back of the sixth and final Big Sky Tournament playoff spot with five games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Sacramento State shot just 38.6 percent (27-70) from the field and 30.0 percent (6-20) from beyond the three-point arc, but was able to score 26 points off 19 Montana turnovers. The Hornets took 19 more shots from the field than the Grizzlies, but were whistled for 10 more fouls (22-12). Subsequently, Montana converted on 25-of-34 free throws while Sacramento State was 9-of-13 from the charity stripe.
The Griz, who were playing without leading scorer Andrew Strait (flu), improved to 13-11 overall and 7-4 in the Big Sky. UM won for the sixth time in eight games and improved to 9-3 on its home floor.
Montana had five players score in double figures, comprised of Matt Dlouhy (14 points, six rebounds), Hasquet (13 points, 11 rebounds), Gus Chase (12 points, five rebounds), Rundles (11 points) and Mayes (11 points). The Grizzlies shot 45.1 percent (23-51) from the field, including 50.0 percent (11-22) in the second half. Montana held a 41-34 rebounding advantage, converting 14 offensive rebounds into 19 second chance points.
Groce led all Hornets with a season-high 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. The team’s only true point guard, Groce is now averaging 17.0 points over his last four games. Bausley added 11 points and six rebounds, but was dreadful from the field, shooting 1-of-7 from the field in the first half and 3-of-12 in the second half. Junior Rod Adams tallied seven points, five rebounds and three steals, and junior Jason Davis added five points and seven rebounds despite playing just 15 minutes.
Sacramento State had a 53-52 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the contest, marking the first time all season the team lost a game when leading at the 10:00 mark. The Hornets had been 8-0 when leading at the point in the game. The Hornets’ top three scorers this season (Bausley, Hargrave and Loren Leath) combined to shoot just 24.2 percent (8-33) from the field.
Sacramento State returns to action for its second back-to-back during the conference season when the team plays at Montana State tomorrow night at 6:05 p.m. PST. The game will be aired on KSAC 1240 AM, www.hornetsports.com, and www.bigskytv.org.