In a *ahem* completely surprising turn of events, the best team in the Big Sky went on the road and got wiped across the floor by their nearest competition for the title - competition that just crept a little nearer.
Last night in Ogden, Utah, Weber State took a 20 point lead in the first half and never looked back in a 87-63 win over Montana.
For the Grizzlies, it ended a 14-game winning streak which was the second longest in the nation. More importantly, it ended a 25-game conference win streak and allowed Weber State within one game of first place (funny enough, the Grizzlies last conference loss was also in Ogden: an 80-64 loss to the Wildcats).
Kyle Tresnak and Frank Otis throttled the Grizzlies, scoring 22 of their combined 33 points in the first half. Damion Berry, who had a quiet first half (five points total, three of them on free throws), lashed out in the second half to finish with 16 points. Gelaun Wheelwright provided excellent support off the bench, scoring another 14 points.
For the Grizzlies, Mathias Ward and Will Cherry, the star with the no-longer-broken foot, each had 18 points. Kareem Jamar, Cherry's fill-in during injury, was ineffective the whole night, only scoring 4 points and fouling out with 4:01 left in the game; his fourth personal came under the 16 minute mark in the second half and he was benched for a solid 10 minutes thereafter.
Sad to say, Montana was never close. The Wildcats shot 55.6% (compared to the Grizzlies 32.7%) from the first half and took a double-digit lead with 8:22 left in the first half. Weber State also worked the boards well, nearly doubling the Grizzlies rebounds in the first, 20-11.
Montana frantically tried to mount a comeback, but the Wildcats hot shooting continued and they were able to fend off any significant attempt. Foul trouble also affected Ward and especially Cherry who had to sit significant minutes in the second half with 4 fouls.
The Grizzlies will next travel to Pocatello for a crucial game against Idaho State, while Weber State plays Montana State.