Montana (18-6) at Sacramento (9-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 10:05 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Hornets Nest (1,200) -- Sacramento, California. Television: None. Home Record: Montana 10-2, Sacramento 6-6. Away Record: Montana 8-4, Sacramento 3-8. Neutral Record: Montana 0-0, Sacramento 0-0. Conference Record: Montana 11-1, Sacramento 4-8. Series Record: Montana leads, 31-5.
GAME NOTES: Tied with Weber State for first place in the Big Sky Conference standings, the Montana Grizzlies now focus on the task at hand and that's taking down the Sacramento State Hornets in California tonight.
In action two nights ago, the Grizzlies logged their seventh straight win and the 13th in the last 14 outings with a 75-68 triumph over Northern Colorado on the road. Now at 11-1 in conference play, Montana and Weber State are both showing the same record after 12 games, putting them five games ahead of every other team in the league so the regular season title is essentially there for the taking.
As for the Hornets, they are in the bottom third of the standings with four league wins in 12 opportunities. Also in action two nights ago, Sacramento State has actually shown signs of life in recent weeks and has now rattled off four straight wins thanks to an 86-76 triumph over Montana State at home. Prior to this win streak the Hornets had won just five games in 19 chances.
The Grizz crushed Sacramento in the first meeting of the season last month at home in an 85-56 final, as four starters scored in double figures for the hosts, the team as a whole shooting a fantastic 65.1 percent from the field. With the victory, Montana has now won 10 straight over the Hornets and owns a commanding 31-5 advantage in the all-time series.
Will Cherry erupted for a career-high 30 points on Thursday night, shooting 12-of-20 from the floor, as he guided the Grizzlies to the road win over Northern Colorado. But more than just letting fly with one shot after another, Cherry also accounted for four rebounds, four assists and a staggering eight steals. Derek Selvig and Kareem Jamar chipped in with 12 points apiece and also combined for another nine assists which means the trio accounted for the bulk of the unit's 16 dishes. Cherry has been doing it all for the Grizz so far this season, from posting 15.8 ppg and handing out 81 assists over 24 starts to collecting 4.1 rpg and averaging close to three steals per outing as well. Jamar is responsible for 13.4 ppg and is first with 84 assists, not to mention 5.2 rpg, so both player are shouldering much of the load for Montana this season.
Celebrating their longest win streak since the 2005-06 campaign, the Hornets got huge efforts out of Joe Eberhard who scored a season-best 23 points and Dylan Garrity who established a new school record with 16 assists in the victory over Montana State on Thursday night. The assist total by Garrity not only set a Big Sky freshman record, it was also the most by any player in the league in more than two decades. Because Garrity was finding all the right people at the right time, the Hornets shot a season-best 62.2 percent from the floor, a mark that is in fact the school's highest in Division I history. Garrity now has 157 dishes on the season and just 64 turnovers which is rather impressive given how much the team has struggled this year. Now if only Garrity and his teammates could work on pressuring the ball since, with just 106 steals over 23 games, that are one of the weakest teams in the country in that department.
Sacramento caught lightning in a bottle the other night and it will take a lot more than that for the Hornets to sting Montana tonight with as well as the Grizzlies have been playing.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana 78, Sacramento State 71
02/11 10:37:57 ET