Big Sky Conference Championship: Montana Defeats Weber St. 85-66 for NCAA Berth

Bleacher ReportCorrespondent IMarch 8, 2012

Weber State's Damian Lillard may be the second leading scorer in the country, but his double-double with 29 points and 10 rebounds wasn't enough as the Montana Grizzlies topped the Weber State Wildcats 85-66 Wednesday night in Missoula, Montana for the Big Sky Conference Championship.

The Grizzlies were led by sophomore guard Kareem Jamar and junior forward Mathias Ward, who each had 23 points on the night for the Grizzlies.

Despite the 19-point victory for Montana, it was Weber State who started hot in Dahlberg Arena.  The Wildcats began the game with a 7-0 lead within the first two minutes.  By the 10-minute mark, Weber State amassed a 23-13 lead powered by Lillard and sophomore center Kyle Tresnak, who finished the night with 12 points and four rebounds.

Three-pointers by Jamar and Derek Selvig sparked the Grizzlies as they tied the game 26-26 at the 6:05 mark, but another spark by the Wildcats would bring the score to a 36-31 Weber State advantage at halftime.

Will Cherry, who finished with 13 points and six assists for the Grizzlies, made a three-pointer at 17:16 in the second half to give Montana their first lead of the game.

The Grizzlies never looked back and led the rest of the way after a jumper by Ward with 14 minutes remaining.

All five of Montana's starters were in double figures for the game.

Along with Lillard and Tresnak, leading scorers for Weber State included Byron Fulton with 10 points and four rebounds and Kyle Bullinger with seven points.

With the victory, the Grizzlies will make their ninth overall NCAA tournament appearance in school history and first since 2010.  Montana will also look for their first NCAA tournament victory since upsetting Nevada in the first round as a No. 12 seed in 2006.

Montana will head into the NCAA tournament 25-6 (15-1 in conference) riding a 14-game win streak.

Weber State, finishing the season with a solid resume at 24-6 (14-2 in conference) will likely be in contention for an NIT or other postseason berth.