Griz Edge Bengals 62-61 & Tinkle Gets Career Win No. 155

By DAVE GUFFEY for GoGriz.com

University of Montana head coach Wayne Tinkle reached a coaching milestone, do-it-all senior guard/forward Kareem Jamar reached a conference milestone, and true freshman guard Mario Dunn scored a team-high 15 points, as the Grizzlies edged the Idaho State Bengals 62-61 Saturday night in UM’s Dahlberg Arena.

With the win, Montana improves to 9-7 in the Big Sky Conference and 14-11 overall, while ISU goes to 7-9 and 10-15.

The hard-fought victory gave eight-year mentor Tinkle his 155th career “W,” moving him up to second all-time in school history, as he passed former head coach Mike Montgomery, who won 154 contests during his eight-year stint at UM from 1979-86.  The all-time leader in career wins at Montana is George “Jiggs” Dahlberg, who won 235 games in 16 seasons during two coaching stints from 1938-42 and 1945-55.

Coach Wayne Tinkle“All that means is that I have been really blessed to have some really good coaches with me, and really good players,” said Tinkle on reaching the career wins milestone at his alma mater.  “We’ll be able to enjoy that somewhere down the road, but I am just proud that our guys found a way to get this win, and hopefully we will be able to build off ofit.”

Coach Tinkle’s 155th career win was indeed a memorable one, as the Bengals had a chance to tie the game and force an overtime with 1.8 seconds left to play.  ISU senior guard Andre Hatchett had a chance to force an OT when he was fouled at that 1.8 mark.  He made his first free throw attempt, but the second one barely rimmed out, and the Griz snatched the win.

Jamar scored 12 points in the contest, which gives him 1,595 points in his career, and he moves up to 20th all-time in Big Sky history.  He passed former Idaho guard Brian Kellerman, who scored 1,595 career points from 1979-83.

The Grizzlies had taken a 61-53 lead with 3:38 remaining on a driving lay-up by junior guard Keron DeShields.  But the Bengals out-scored the Griz 7-0 after that, and when junior guard/forward Chris Hansen made two free throws, ISU had cut UM’s lead to 61-60 with 57 seconds to go.

Prior to Hatchett’s two charity, Jamar had a chance to give the Griz a three-point lead with 26 seconds left to play, but he made one-of-two free throws, and UM had a slim, 62-60 advantage.  A couple of timeouts later, ISU whittled time off the clock, and got the ball inside to Hatchett, who was fouled on a lay-up attempt, and he then got those two free throw shots, barely missing the second try.

The Griz led 28-24 in a low-scoring first half, and were led by Dunn with 8 points, while Jamar and junior guard Jordan Gregory added 7 points each.

The lead changes hands four times, and ISU’s final lead was 32-31 with 17:02 left in the contest on a lay-up by sophomore guard Evann Hall.  Gregory nailed a 3-pointer on UM’s next possession to give the Griz a 34-32 edge, and the home team led the rest of the way.

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Also in double figures for the Griz with Dunn and Jamar, was Gregory, who scored 12 points.  Dunn was 5-of-5 from the floor and made all three of his 3-point attempts.  Jamar led UM with 7 rebounds – all of them coming in the opening stanza.  Junior forward Mike Weisner added 9 points and 4 rebounds, while DeShields tallied 7 points and had a game-high 6 assists.

Montana once again was very efficient with the ball finishing with only 6 turnovers in the game – all 6 of those coming in the first half.  The Griz had a season-low 3 turnovers in their 68-57 win over Weber State on Thursday.

ISU senior guard Tomas Sanchez scored a game-high 17 points.  Hatchett, who made 9-of-12 free throw attempts, scored 13 points, as did Hansen.  ISU forward Jeffrey Solarin added 10 points and had a game-leading 9 rebounds.

Montana host the Southern Utah Thunderbirds next Saturday, March 1, on “Senior Night” in Dahlberg Arena.  The Grizzlies’ final home game is on Monday, March 3, as they host Montana State.

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