RENO, Nev. -- Montana forward Martin Breunig had game highs in points (24) and rebounds (16) to lead the Grizzlies to a 70-53 victory over Sacramento State in the Big Sky Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Thursday night at the Reno Events Center.
With the loss, Sacramento State's season comes to an end with a 14-17 record while Montana (20-10) moves onto the semifinal round where it will take on Idaho tomorrow evening. The Hornets, who were the No. 10 seed, had advanced to the quarterfinals after winning their first round game against Montana State on Tuesday night. Montana, the No. 2 seed, received a first round bye after finishing among the top four teams in the conference.
Sacramento State was making its seventh Big Sky Tournament appearance (prior to this year, only the top six or seven teams qualified), and now hold a 4-7 all-time record at the postseason event. The Hornets were able to win Big Sky Tournament games in back-to-back years for the first time since joining the league in 1996. Sacramento State defeated Portland State in last year's quarterfinal round.
Tonight, it was the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Breunig who had his way, scoring 24 of Montana's 70 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. Four of his 16 rebounds came on the offensive glass, helping the Grizzlies to 11 second-chance points. Of his 10 made field goals, seven came on layups and two came via dunks.
Breunig's effort along with the Hornets' field goal percentage of .358 (19-53) and 3-point percentage of .214 (6-28) all contributed greatly to the loss. Sacramento State's point total (53), field goals made (19), field goal percentage and assists (7) were all the second lowest totals of the season. The Hornets also posted their lowest rebounding total of the year (26) while being outrebounded, 40-26. Sacramento State had three scoring droughts of longer than four minutes during the game, including a pair in the first half and one in the second half.
Sacramento State jumped out to a 5-1 lead during the first 2:28 of the game, but Montana immediately responded with a 10-2 run to take an 11-7 lead. The Grizzlies, who held a lead the final 33:54 of the game, would eventually push that lead to double digits at 25-15 on a Breunig dunk with 4:00 left in the first half. That was part of a spurt that saw Breunig score 10 straight points for Montana.
The Grizzlies finished the game shooting .471 (24-of-51) from the field while knocking down six 3-pointers and converting on 16-of-20 (.800) from the free throw line. The two teams combined for just 15 turnovers (UM 8, SAC 7), but Montana held a 9-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
Breunig would strike again with a layup with four seconds remaining to give Montana a 36-21 halftime lead. Sacramento State would get no closer than 10 points of the Grizzlies' lead the remainder of the evening. The Hornets closed the gap to 11 points (62-51) with 3:36 to play on a Justin Strings putback, but Montana scored eight of the game's final 10 points to provide the final 70-53 margin.
"Montana is a very good team, and whenever you have a player (Breunig) that commands a double team and is that effective, its a problem," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "It frees up the rest of his teammates, and you saw what happened tonight. They moved the ball around well, did a nice job in every area, and particularly Breunig who was the difference tonight."
For Sacramento State, Strings led the way with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-for-8 from the 3-point line. Eleven of those 14 points came in the second half while he also contributed four rebounds and two steals. He was joined in double figures by true freshman Jeff Wu who had 11 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Nick Hornsby had six points, six rebounds and a steal, Marcus Graves had six points and two assists, Cody Demps added four points, five rebounds and three assists, and Dreon Barlett had five points. Eric Stuteville chipped in four points and three rebounds.
Tonight marked the final games in the careers of fourth-year seniors Demps and Barlett, who have both had big impacts on the program during their tenure. In fact, Demps ranks among the program's 20 players in 10 different career categories, including fourth in total minutes (3,055) and starts (86), and fifth in games played (114). Barlett ranks sixth in program history in career 3-point percentage (.405) and 12th in both games played (106) and free throw percentage (.823).
Sacramento State won at least 14 games all four years of their careers after the program reached that mark just once in the first 21 years at the Div. I level (1991-pres.).
"I loved every second of being with this team throughout the season, and I look up to Cody (Demps) and Dreon (Barlett) as big brothers," Strings said. "We played this year for the seniors because of the amount of respect we have for them. Everyone on this team played tonight like it was their last game out of respect for what the seniors have meant to this program."
Sacramento State had six players average at least 7.5 points per game this season, comprised of Strings (15.5), Graves (12.2), Demps (12.0), Stuteville (8.0), Hornsby (7.8) and Barlett (7.5).
March 10, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON COMES TO AN END WITH LOSS TO MONTANA
February 26, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TO PLAY SATURDAY MATINEE AT NORTH DAKOTA
February 25, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL GOES COLD LATE, FALLS AT NORTHERN COLORADO, 72-67
February 24, 2016 FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD TRIP; MEN'S HOOPS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
February 20, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL BEATS IDAHO AT HOME, 68-65; SWEEPS THE SEASON SERIES
February 19, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS IDAHO ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
February 19, 2016 FORMER MEN'S BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH DWAYNE CANADA PASSES AWAY
February 18, 2016 BIG FIRST HALF PROPELS EASTERN WASHINGTON TO 93-88 WIN OVER MEN’S HOOPS
February 16, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT THE NEST ON THURSDAY, HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 13, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S LATE RUN FALL SHORT IN 66-64 ROAD LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
February 12, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO POCATELLO FOR SATURDAY GAME AT IDAHO STATE
February 11, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS HELD TO SEASON LOW IN POINTS IN 63-50 LOSS AT WEBER STATE
February 9, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO WEBER STATE FOR THURSDAY NIGHT GAME
February 5, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS MONTANA STATE SATURDAY EVENING AT THE NEST
February 4, 2016 HUGE 2ND HALF HELPS MEN’S BASKETBALL BEAT FIRST-PLACE MONTANA, 83-79
February 3, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES MONTANA TO THE NEST ON THURSDAY NIGHT
February 1, 2016 ANTICIPATION BUILDING ON THE ROAD TO RENO FOR BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
January 29, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EASTERN WASHINGTON FOR SATURDAY MATINEE
January 28, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL GETS BIG ROAD WIN AT IDAHO, 65-63
January 27, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR THURSDAY EVENING MATCHUP
January 23, 2016 RED-HOT PORTLAND STATE RACES PAST MEN’S BASKETBALL
January 21, 2016 ROAD TO RENO PRIZE PACKAGE TO BE GIVEN AWAY AT SATURDAY'S MBB GAME
January 15, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES WEBER STATE TO THE NEST ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 13, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL FINALLY BACK AT HOME ON THURSDAY VS. IDAHO STATE
January 9, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS FALLS ON THE ROAD AT MONTANA
January 8, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WRAPS UP ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY EVENING AT MONTANA
January 7, 2016 LATE MONTANA STATE RUN DOOMS MEN’S BASKETBALL IN 71-64 LOSS
December 30, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE
December 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 7-4 AFTER 78-49 VICTORY OVER PACIFIC UNION
December 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS PACIFIC UNION ON MONDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
December 21, 2015 LATE STANFORD RUN SPOILS MEN’S BASKETBALL’S UPSET BID
December 20, 2015 MBB PLAYS AT STANFORD ON MONDAY; 1ST GAME VS. CARDINAL SINCE 2007
December 12, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS TO 6-3 AFTER 81-73 LOSS AT PORTLAND
December 10, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS ROAD STRETCH ON SATURDAY EVENING AT PORTLAND
December 8, 2015 JUSTIN STRINGS NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 7, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL MAKES BIG PLAYS LATE IN WIN OVER INCARNATE WORD
December 6, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS TO PLAY FIRST OF JUST TWO DECEMBER HOME GAMES ON MONDAY
December 2, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS HAS CHANCES TO WIN LATE, BUT FALLS AT UC DAVIS, 66-61
December 1, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR SEASON SWEEP OF UC DAVIS ON WEDNESDAY
November 29, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS PACIFIC FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 2009 AT THE NEST TODAY
November 29, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 5-1 AFTER A 79-71 HOME WIN OVER PACIFIC
November 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS DROPS FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON TO SOUTH DAKOTA, 96-90
November 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS HOME TOURNEY SATURDAY VS. SOUTH DAKOTA AT 3:30 PM
November 24, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 4-0 WITH AN 84-79 WIN OVER UC DAVIS
November 23, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST
November 20, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 3-0 AFTER A 96-56 VICTORY OVER HOLY NAMES
November 19, 2015 HOME OPENER FOR MEN'S HOOPS THIS FRIDAY VS. HOLY NAMES AT 7 PM
November 17, 2015 GRAVES NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
November 16, 2015 NATIONAL WEEKLY AWARDS POURING IN FOR MEN'S HOOPS' MARCUS GRAVES
November 15, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS 2ND ROAD GAME IN 3 DAYS ON SUNDAY AT SEATTLE
November 15, 2015 HUGE SECOND HALF PROPELS MEN’S HOOPS TO A 77-65 WIN AT SEATTLE
November 13, 2015 LATE RUN GIVES MEN’S BASKETBALL A 66-63 UPSET WIN AT ARIZONA STATE
November 11, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS BEYER HIGH SCHOOL GUARD GEORGE DANCER
November 9, 2015 GAME NOTES: MEN'S HOOPS OPENS SEASON FRIDAY AT ARIZONA STATE
November 6, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL CRUSHES SIMPSON, 103-63, IN EXHIBITION GAME
November 2, 2015 DICKSON BECOMES 2ND PLAYER IN SCHOOL HISTORY DRAFTED IN NBA D-LEAGUE
October 27, 2015 ERNEST TSCHANNEN DONATES $750,000 TO POWER OF 1,000 HORNETS
September 30, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHING, 1ST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
September 3, 2015 HEAD COACH BRIAN KATZ RECEIVES FIVE-YEAR COMMITMENT THROUGH 2020
June 29, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL ANNOUNCES ITS 2015-16 SCHEDULE