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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published January 10 2013

Montana controls second half to defeat North Dakota in men's hoops

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota trailed league-leading Montana by two points at the half. The first 20 minutes of Thursday night’s Big Sky Conference meeting between UND and the Grizzlies had the makings of a down-to-the-wire, emotionally charged game for the 1,877 fans at The Betty.

Montana, however, decided the game during the

15-minute halftime break – in the Grizzlies’ locker room.

The result: Montana thoroughly dominated UND in the final 20 minutes, taking a 77-62 win to improve to 5-0 in the Big Sky (9-4 overall) while UND – starting what could be a season-changing four-game homestand – dropped to 1-4 and 4-10.

“We had imposters out there defensively in the first half,” said Montana coach Wayne Tinkle. “We made so many uncharacteristic mistakes, leaving shooters open, not guarding the paint.

“We really had to rattle some cages. The temperature was pretty hot in there. We challenged them and they responded.”

Montana led 38-36 at the break in perhaps the best 20 minutes of men’s basketball in The Betty in recent years.

After Jamal Webb tied the game at 38-38 on a putback one minute into the second half, the Griz went on a 9-0 run – including a three-point play from Mathias Ward, who led the way with 27 points.

Behind Troy Huff (24 points), UND managed to cut the deficit to 52-44 with 14:25 to go, but the Griz then took it up another notch, scoring from the perimeter, inside and in transition. UND had no answer for the 6-foot-7 Ward, Montana’s leading scorer. But he had help as three other players – Will Cherry (14), Kevin Henderson (12) and Kareem Jamar (11) also were in double figures.

Two straight baskets by Henderson and one from Jamar gave Montana a 63-46 lead with 9:22 left.

“We played 20 minutes of quality basketball,” said UND coach Brian Jones. “Against a quality team like Montana, it’s not about 20 minutes. It’s about 40 minutes. It started with our offense. We turned it over too much (in the second half). We missed easy looks. And we just didn’t get stops defensively.”

MONTANA (9-4): Henderson 5-7 0-0 12, Cherry 5-13 2-2 14, Jamar 3-7 5-7 11, Ward 11-16 1-1 27, Martin 2-3 0-0 4, Wiley 0-0 0-0 0, Emerson 0-1 0-0 0, DeShields 0-5 0-0 0, Coleman 1-2 0-0 2, Weisner 2-4 0-0 5, Hutchison 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 30-59 8-10 77.

NORTH DAKOTA (4-10): Anderson 2-7 4-6 9, Webb 5-12 1-2 11, Wilmer 0-2 4-4 4, Schuler 2-5 1-2 6, Archer 2-4 0-0 4, Antwi 2-5 0-0 4, Huff 8-14 6-7 24, Allard 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 16-21 62.

Halftime: Montana 38-36. 3-Point Goals: Montana 9-22 (Ward 4-5, Henderson 2-3, Cherry 2-7, Weisner 1-3, Jamar 0-1, Emerson 0-1, DeShields 0-2), North Dakota 4-18 (Huff 2-5, Schuler 1-2, Anderson 1-3, Archer 0-1, Antwi 0-2, Webb 0-5). Rebounds: Montana 34 (Jamar 7), North Dakota 29 (Wilmer 6). Assists_Montana 21 (Cherry 7), North Dakota 11 (Webb 7). Total Fouls: Montana 15, North Dakota 7. A: 1,844.


Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald