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MONTANA USES SIZE AND A BIG SECOND HALF TO DEFEAT MENâ€™S BASKETBALL
Sophomore John Dickson has now scored in double figures against all four conference opponents
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Montana used an 18-6 run spanning nearly six minutes of the first and second halves, and went on to defeat Sacramento State, 68-52, in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Saturday evening at the Nest.
After the Grizzlies’ Will Cherry hit a late three-pointer to give Montana a 32-31 lead at halftime, Montana proceeded to outscore the Hornets in the second half by a 36-21 margin. In fact, after Sacramento State took its largest lead of the night at five points (29-24) with 2:17 remaining in the first half, the Grizzlies outscored the Hornets, 44-23, over the final 22:17 of the contest.
Sacramento State went more than seven minutes of the second half without scoring until a pair of John Dickson free throws mercifully ended the run with 4:31 to play. Montana took full advantage during that stretch, increasing its lead from seven points to 19 points, and essentially putting the game away. The Grizzlies built their lead to as large as 22 points late in the second half before settling for the 16-point victory.
Montana used its size to score a series of easy baskets in the second half, and finished the game scoring 34 points in the paint to the Hornets’ 22. Senior Brian Qvale, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center, had 23 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Much of that production came in a second half that saw Qvale tally 19 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Joining Qvale was seven-foot forward Derek Selvig who tallied seven points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
The Grizzlies finished the game shooting 54.9 percent (28-51) from the field and 50.0 percent (6-12) from the three-point line. In addition, they outrebounded the Hornets by a 32-27 margin, marking the first time in seven games that Sacramento State has been outrebounded. In addition, the .549 field goal percentage was the highest allowed by the Hornets this season.
With the loss, Sacramento State suffered its sixth straight defeat while dropping to 3-12 overall and 0-4 in the Big Sky. During the Hornets’ losing streak, three of the losses were in overtime and another was a two-point regulation loss on Thursday against Montana State.
Montana (11-5, 3-1) won for the eighth time in its last 10 games, and improved to 4-4 on the road. One of those road wins came in early December at UCLA. The Grizzlies won their eighth straight game against Sacramento State dating back to 2007, and improved to 29-5 all-time against the Hornets.
After shooting 54.2 percent (13-24) in the first half, Sacramento State went just 7-of-25 from the field in the second half and finished the game at 40.8 percent (20-49) from the floor. The Hornets connected on five three-pointers (in 15 attempts) and went 7-of-13 from the free throw line. Sacramento State did have nine steals and six blocked shots (one shy of its season high), but could not stop Montana’s efficiency from the field.
Joining Qvale in double figures for Montana were Cherry (18 points, game-high seven assists) and Art Steward (13 points, 6-of-8 shooting from the field). The Grizzlies’ starting five combined to score 63 of the team’s 68 points, and four of the five starters played at least 32 minutes.
For Sacramento State, senior Sultan Toles-Bey posted team highs in points (12), assists (3), steals (3) and minutes (36). He also connected on four three-pointers, one shy of his career high. Dickson had 10 points, and now leads the Hornets with an average of 13.5 points per game against conference competition. He has scored in double figures against all four conference opponents.
Senior Duro Bjegovic added eight points and a team-high six rebounds, junior Walter Jackson had eight points, and juniors Alpha N’Diaye and Zach Nelson each had seven points. Jackson also had three rebounds, three assists, a block, a steal, and shot 4-of-6 from the field. The Hornets’ bench accounted for 22 of the team’s 52 points.
Sacramento State returns to action next week when the team plays on the road at Weber State (Thursday, Jan. 13) and Northern Arizona (Saturday, Jan. 15).
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