Missoula, MT – Kareem Jamar had 20 points, Will Cherry scored 18 and the Montana Grizzlies edged the Weber State Wildcats, 67-64, to repeat as Big Sky Tournament champions.
The top-seeded Grizzlies (25-6) found themselves in a familiar place Saturday night. Montana played in the conference title game for the fourth straight season, and for the third time, defeated Weber State (26-6) with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on the line.
"It was an unbelievable success when you look how far this team has come and everything they've dealt with," Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said. "Never have they let us down. Every time they were challenged, they responded."
Even at 34-34 after 20 minutes, the game remained a back-and-forth affair.
A three-point play by Jamar put Montana up 59-54 with about three minutes remaining. Weber State's Davion Berry then drew a foul on a drive in the lane after hitting a 3-pointer. Berry, though, missed both free throw attempts and then committed an offensive foul for his fifth personal, ending his night.
With under a minute to play, Cherry drained a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a 62-57 lead. Frank Otis answered with a layup for second-seeded Weber State, which began to foul.
Jordan Gregory sank two free throws to restore a five-point Montana lead with 22 seconds to play.
The Wildcats refused to go away as Gelaun Wheelwright's deep 3-pointer whittled down the deficit to two.
Cherry was quickly fouled and he made both free throws with 10.1 seconds left.
Joel Bolomboy closed the gap to 66-64 with a putback of Jordan Richardson's missed 3-pointer, but only 2.7 seconds remained. After Mike Weisner connected on 1-of-2 from the charity stripe, Weber State was unable to heave a would-be game-tying 3-point try.
"This one's hard, It hurts because our kids invested in our program and invested in each other. It's painful," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said.
Gregory had 12 points ... Berry, Bolomboy and Scott Bamforth each logged 12 points for Weber State ... The loss snapped the Wildcats' 13-game winning streak.