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Big Sky Tournament Semifinals: Montana holds off feisty Northern Colorado, 70-56

Montana sticks to script; Big Sky title bout set for Saturday night.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The one-seed Montana Grizzlies turned back every Northern Colorado rally in the second Big Sky tournament semifinal, beating the Bears 70-56 on Friday night in Missoula.

The five-seeded Bears made several runs at the Griz throughout the game, but ultimately the 11-0 hole they dug themselves was too much to overcome.

Montana's stars Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar led the Grizzlies with 21 and 19 points, respectively. While the duo only shot 3-12 from behind the arc, Jamar's all-around game was on display as the Big Sky Player of the Year added ten rebounds and four assists.

A career game from Northern Colorado big man Connor Osborne was spoiled by cold-shooting teammates. Osborne tossed in 18 points on 8-12 shooting and had 12 rebounds. Derrick Barden added another 18 points, many coming inside the paint, but guards Tevin Svihovec and Tate Unruh combined to shoot just 3-20.

Several times, Montana would stretch its lead to ten or 11 only to see the Bears shrink the deficit down to five. With 13:06 left in the game, Northern Colorado got the game within three points on three straight Osborne paint buckets. But that was as close as it would get the rest of the night.

The game marked the 30th-straight win for Montana on its home floor against Big Sky opponents, a streak that stretches back three years.

Montana (24-6) will play host to Weber State (26-5) on Saturday night in a rematch of last year's Big Sky tournament title bout. The two teams split the season series. Montana beat Weber State in Missoula, 76-74, while the Wildcats won 87-63 in Ogden.

The game tips at 7 p.m. MT on ESPNU.