Thursday, December 29, 2011

Montana Holds Court Over Portland State

In the other Big Sky conference game of the day, the road team got off to a great start to secure the victory. Not in this one. Here it was Montana that jumped out to an early 10 point lead, and the game was never really in doubt after that.

Montana shot 58% in the first half (including 7/9 from beyond the arc), which enabled them to get a 19 point lead going into the break. Portland State had a couple solid runs in the second half to cut the deficit down a bit, but they never really made it too interesting.

Kareem Jamar led the team with 17 points, also contributing 4 rebounds and 4 assists. He had a couple of great looks that led the easy baskets for the Griz, and he is really growing to be a great playmaker for them. The announcers of the game were heaping a lot of praise on Jamar near the end of the game, and it was hard to argue with anything. He is very talented offensively, and very advanced for being a sophomore.

Will Cherry also played well, with 15 points, including knocking down some outside shots, which is huge for him. He also had the play of the day... on a fast break, he threw up a beautiful alley oop that was completed by Art Steward (who also had 15) for an athletic finish (highlights can be found here). Cherry had a cramp later in the game, but should be fine for Friday. Cherry opposing Lateef McMullan (0/7, 0 points) was a huge mismatch in this game.

Derek Selvig and Eric Hutchison did not contribute a bunch offensively, but they were very sound defensively against a strong offensive frontcourt of PSU. In particular they played outstanding defense against Nate Lozeau.

It will not be a game Lozeau will want to remember. Coming into the day he was shooting 64%, but he was just 1/8 from the floor for 4 points and 3 rebounds, while also battling foul trouble. Chehales Tapscott didn't do much better offensively with 7 points, but he did have 12 rebounds and is just very active on the glass. Renado Parker had another great effort (16 points, 8 rebounds), and is one heck of a player down low, but it was not enough.

The bright spot for PSU was Charles Odum, who had a very efficient 27 points, taking only 13 shots. He got to the line well, and got into the lane for some easy shots. He is really an excellent player, though some of the points did come in garbage time.

Montana came out firing and played great, setting up an early season game against Eastern Washington to determine who will be #2 in the perception of those following the league. Meanwhile, PSU falls to 0-7 on the road this year, and has to turn around in 2 days to take on Montana State. It is a win they could definitely use.

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