MISSOULA – Kareem Jamar scored 20 points, Will Cherry had 18 and Montana held off Weber State 67-64 Saturday night to win the Big Sky tournament title for the second consecutive year.
Cherry’s 3-pointer extended Montana’s lead to 62-57 with 46 seconds to go. After Frank Otis’ layup pulled Weber State within three, Jordan Gregory made two free throws with 22 seconds remaining for the Grizzlies.
Gelaun Wheelwright hit a 3 to get the Wildcats to 64-62 with 11 seconds to go. Cherry was fouled a second later and made both free throws for Montana (25-6).
Jordan Richardson missed a 3 for Weber State (26-6) with 4 seconds remaining, but Joel Bolomboy’s putback got the Wildcats within two.
Mike Weisner was fouled and made 1 of 2 from the line with 2 seconds to go for the Grizzlies, and Scott Bamforth’s last-second heave was short as the Grizzlies returned to the NCAA tournament for the 10th time.
Gregory finished with 12 points for Montana.
Davion Berry, Bamforth and Bolomboy scored 12 points each to lead Weber State, and Wheelwright added 11 points and nine rebounds.
Cherry had six points during the Grizzlies’ 8-0 run that gave them a 56-50 lead with about 51/2 minutes to go, and they didn’t trail again.
Berry, the Wildcats’ leading scorer at 15.3 points per game, made 3 of 4 free throws in a 36-second span, and Kyle Tresnak made 1 of 2 to pull Weber State within two about 2 minutes later.
Jamar’s three-point play extended Montana’s lead to 59-54 with 3:10 to go. Berry followed with a 3 — just his second field goal in five attempts at that point — to get the Wildcats within two again, but the 76-percent free-throw shooter missed two from the line with 1:50 left.
Montana used a 16-7 run in the first half to take a 25-16 lead on Mike Weisner’s 3 with 9 minutes to go.
Bamforth scored seven points in Weber State’s 10-3 spurt that made it 29-27 on Bolomboy’s three-point play with 51/2 minutes remaining in the half. Bolomboy’s free throw with 51 seconds left tied the score at 34 at the break.