Idaho State (10-14) at Montana (13-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,321) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho State 8-3, Montana 8-3. Away Record: Idaho State 2-10, Montana 5-8. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-1, Montana 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho State 7-8, Montana 8-7. Series Record: Montana leads, 96-46.
GAME NOTES: With five games left to play on their regular season schedule, the Montana Grizzlies will be trying to string some wins together to climb back into Big Sky Conference contention. They'll start by hosting the Idaho State Bengals in conference play Saturday at Dahlberg Arena.
Idaho State ended a two-game win streak with a 66-60 loss at Montana State Thursday, and the Bengals had a day in Montana to digest that loss and get set for UM. The Bengals have lost four of their last seven games, and sport a 7-8 record in the Big Sky.
Montana ended a two-game skid with a 68-57 victory over conference leader Weber State Thursday night, which drew the Grizzlies a game closer to the Big Sky lead. Montana has won five of its last seven games, and owns an 8-7 conference record - three games back of Weber State.
Montana owns a very comfortable all-time series lead over Idaho State, 96-46. The Grizzlies extended that lead with a 59-54 victory over the Bengals back on Jan. 23 earlier this season.
Idaho State led Montana State at the half on Thursday, 30-29, but the Bengals simply failed to contain the Bobcats in the second period, allowing MSU to outscore them 37-30 in the frame. Montana State shot 52 percent in the second half to take the lead. Jeffrey Solarin paced the Bengals with 20 points in the loss, adding five rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Andre Hatchett scored 17 points, and Tomas Sanchez chipped in 10. ISU connected on just 2-of-16 from 3- point range in the contest.
Chris Hansen, who scored only seven points in the game against Montana State in Bozeman, still leads the team in scoring this season with a 16.9 ppg average, hitting 43.7 percent of his shot attempts from the floor. Sanchez in second with 14.8 ppg, and Hatchett checks in at third with 14.3 ppg. Solarin rounds out the double-digit scorers for the Bengals with 10 ppg. Solarin owns the team lead in rebounding at 7.8 rpg, and Sanchez tops the squad with 4.3 apg.
Montana's matchup against first-place Weber State team featured nine ties and five lead changes, but ultimately the Grizzlies outpaced the Wildcats in the second half en route to the 11-point victory. Kareem Jamar led all scorers in the game with 25 points, connecting on 11-of-19 from the field and 2-of-6 from 3-point range. The Grizzlies shot 57.4 percent from the floor in the win, despite hitting just 3-of-11 from 3-point distance.
Jamar is continuing his impressive season in the Big Sky Conference this year, helping his Montana team to a winning record with five games left to play. Jamar tops the Grizzlies in scoring with 19.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 100 assists on the season, leading his squad in all three major categories. He's also second in blocked shots with 12, and third in steals at 21. Jordan Gregory is second in scoring on the team with 14.1 ppg, and Keron DeShields checks in at third with 12.6 ppg.
The Grizzlies were able to secure a head-to-head win against Idaho State in Pocatello earlier this year, and there's no reason to think they can't do it again on their home court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana 78, Idaho State 67
02/22 10:15:44 ET