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MENâ€™S BASKETBALL FALLS AT MONTANA
MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana’s Andrew Strait (21) and Ryan Staudacher (19) combined for 40 of Montana’s 90 points to help lead the Grizzlies to a 90-57 victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at Dahlberg Arena.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped its third straight while falling to 4-19 overall and 2-10 in the Big Sky. The Hornets also fell to 5-24 all-time against Montana, and 1-14 against the Grizzlies in Missoula. Montana won its third in a row, and improved to 12-12 overall and 6-5 in the Big Sky.
Montana scored the game’s first three buckets and never trailed the rest of the way. In fact, the Grizzlies, who finished the game shooting 55.9 percent (33-59) from the field and 51.9 percent (14-27) from the three-point line, made five of their first six three-point attempts, capped off by a trey from Matt Martin which gave UM a 21-8 lead with 11:57 left in the first half. Sacramento State would get no closer than within 12 points of the Grizzlies’ lead the rest of the evening.
After Sacramento State freshman Vinnie McGhee, Jr., knocked down a three-pointer go get the Hornets within 12 points (43-31) with 2:19 left in the first half, Montana immediately closed the half on an 8-2 run to take a 51-33 lead into the break.
The second half also belonged to Montana as the Grizzlies quickly stretched their lead to 21 points (54-33) on a jumper from Straight with 17:54 left in the contest. Sacramento State would find itself down at least 20 points the remainder of the evening.
Montana, which converted 33 field goals to the Hornets’ 23, also outrebounded Sacramento State, 42-32. Of the Grizzlies’ 33 buckets, 27 were assisted, including a game-high 10 assists from Ceylon Elgin-Taylor. Both Strait (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Kyle Sharp (13 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles for Montana, and Staudacher was 7-for-12 from the field, including 5-of-7 from long range. Joining Sharp, Strait and Staudacher in double figures for Montana was Martin, who finished with 14 points, including 4-of-8 from beyond the three-point line.
Sacramento State shot just 35.9 percent (23-64) from the field and matched its season low for steals in a game (3). The Hornets also couldn’t find the range from the three-point line (.222, 4-for-18) or the free throw line (.438, 7-for-16). The only Sacramento State player to shoot better than 50.0 percent from the charity stripe was senior Justin Williams (2-2).
Leading the Hornets in scoring was McGhee, who finished with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field. The freshman also added a team-best four assists. Joining McGhee in double figures was senior Jason Davis, who finished with 13 points (5-of-9 shooting) and a team-high seven rebounds before fouling out. Davis has now scored in double figures four straight games and is averaging 13.0 points over that four-game stretch.
The only other Hornet to shoot at least 50.0 percent from the floor was freshman Darnell Ferguson, who had four points and five rebounds on 2-of-4 shooting from the field. Sophomore Alonzo Young added six points, three rebounds and three assists.
Junior shooting guard Loren Leath scored six points, and now has 1,001 points over his three-year career in the Green and Gold. He becomes just the fourth Hornet to notch 1,000 career points since the team joined the Div. I ranks in 1991-92, and the second in the last 10 years.
Sacramento State concludes its road trip to the Montana schools this Sunday, Feb. 17, when the team travels to Bozeman to take on Montana State at 1:05 p.m. PST. The game will be aired live locally on Comcast SportsNet West. After Sunday’s game, the Hornets have just five games remaining on their schedule, including a pair of home dates against Idaho State (Feb. 28) and Weber State (March 3).
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