PHOTO GALLERY: Griz Outlast Weber State 76-74 for BSC Championship

By AUSTIN SMITH

The Montana Grizzlies have secured two straight Big Sky titles and a trip to the national tournament after fending off Weber State in a 67-64 grudge match Saturday evening.

In one of the closest games Montana has had to endure this season, crowd favorites Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar combined for 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

The dual effort was exactly what the Griz needed to overcome a relentlessly physical and dynamic Weber team, the same squad Montana sent packing in 2012 for the first of their repeat conference championships.

This time around, Weber scratched out first blood after converting a steal but quickly faltered in the face of Jordan Gregory’s back-to-back three-pointers.

The two buckets were all the spark two-time tournament MVP Kareem Jamar needed: shortly thereafter he scored the first of his team-high 20 points, bringing the scoreboard level and setting a blistering pace that was to continue through the final seconds.

All Tournament Team selections from Left: Kareem Jamar, Will Cherry, and Jordan Gregory.

To their credit, Weber State kept the Griz guessing until Gregory and Cherry’s subsequent steals at the ten-minute mark ignited Dahlberg Arena and permanently shifted momentum towards the home team.

Saturday’s matchup ended with three Montana players in double-digits, but outside the scoring column it was a surprisingly balanced affair.  All players with minutes grabbed at least one rebound, and as a team tallied nine assists and ten points off the bench.

The Griz will now join their female counterparts on the road to a national championship, their 10th visit overall and the third trip to include the current crop of players.  Selection Sunday coincides with St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, and the men’s tournament is scheduled to tip off Tuesday, March 19.

All Tournament Team:  Junior guard-forward Kareem Jamar was named the tourney MVP, becoming just the fourth player in Big Sky history to win the award back-to-back.  Senior point guard Will Cherry was also named to the all-tournament team, along with UM sophomore guard Jordan Gregory. Bolomboy, Berry, and junior guard-forward Troy Huff of North Dakota rounded out the All-tourney team.

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Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...
Dahlberg Arena in Missoula, Mont., March 16th, 2013.
Dahlberg Arena in Mi...