PHOTO GALLERY: Griz look for BSC Title After Ousting Colorado

By AUSTIN SMITH – PHOTO GALLERY BY AUSTIN SMITH AND MIKE HUBERMAN

Further asserting Montana’s clout within the Big Sky Conference, the Grizzlies rolled Northern Colorado 70-56 Friday evening and like the Lady Griz will be playing  in Saturday’s championship round.

Ultimately carried across the finish line on the shoulders of perennial standouts Kareem Jamar and Will Cherry, the Griz took advantage of the home court energy and jumped to a quick lead over the Bears.

Despite the initial minutes’ unanswered points, Colorado kept it competitive after forcing a couple clutch turnovers, kick-starting a ferocious offense led by Derrick Barden and Connor Osborne’s combined 36-point effort.

Montana seemed to falter as the first half progressed, swallowing six of their 13 total turnovers in a series of bad offensive decisions that was thankfully brought to a close by some aggressive drives by Jamar and Cherry.

Conference MVP Kareem Jamar ended Friday night with a double-double after tallying 19 points and 10 rebounds.  Cherry was the game-high scorer with 21 points and three assists, one of which, a flashy mid-air dish to ‘Reem in the final minutes, closed the lid on Colorado’s hopes of continuing their season.

Eric Hutchison and Spencer Coleman had a great night in the paint, snapping up five and seven rebounds respectively to add to Montana’s 39 total boards.  Hutchison also drained three of four free throws, two of which came after a Northern Colorado technical foul, helping the Griz shoot almost 65% from the line en route to their semifinal win.

‘Tinkle’s Titans’ will now turn their attention to the scrappy Weber State Wildcats in a bid for back-to-back conference titles.  The Grizzlies beat Weber State in January, but lost on the road in February by a demoralizing 24-point spread.  The winner of tomorrow’s matchup will earn an automatic spot in the NCAA national bracket.

(CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE AND USE ARROWS TO SCROLL THROUGH IMAGES)

Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th. ©Huberman 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 15th, 2013. ©A.Smith 2013
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...