Montana Grizzlies 81, EWU Eagles 66


Three Grizzlies scored in double digits Thursday evening as Montana swept past the Eastern Washington Eagles with an 81-66 Big Sky Conference victory.

The two squads came out swinging, trading buckets and staying neck and neck until two of senior Montana guard Will Cherry’s nine total assists shifted momentum around the 11 minute mark.  The back-to-back strikes put the Eagles on the run and gave Montana a two possession buffer they were able to maintain through halftime.

The Griz were saddled with foul trouble fairly early in the matchup, but maintained defensive pressure and matched Eastern Washington in both physicality and attitude.  The Eagles were elevated by the scrappy offensive work of Venky Jois, a freshman forward whose persistence and fearlessness in the lane was rewarded with a team-high 16 points.

Coupled with a slow second-half start by the Grizzlies, Jois’ efforts threatened to turn Tinkle’s tables but were ultimately undermined by senior Eagle forward Collin Chiverton’s technical foul with ten minutes left in regulation.  The Eagles had made a promising run after halftime, but the double technical situation and borderline brawl took the wind out from under their wings once and for all.

Sophomore Montana guard Jordan Gregory led the Griz with 17 points and was 4-5 from the arc.  Spencer Coleman was close behind, tallying 15 points and five rebounds.  Standout point guard Cherry struggled from the field throughout the contest, missing 11 total shots from both mid- and long-range, but was still able to combine two rebounds and two steals with his impressive assist count.

The Griz will host Portland State Saturday, January 5th, after which they’ll take to the road for visits to North Dakota on January 10th and Northern Colorado on January 12th.