MISSOULA, Mont. – Jordan Lester scored 18 points to help visiting Whitworth challenge the University of Montana before falling 72-60 to the NCAA Division I Grizzlies on Friday night at Dahlberg Arena.
It was the season-opener for Montana, a team hoping to challenge for a Big Sky conference title, but an exhibition game for Whitworth.
The Pirates led for most of the first half and went to the locker rooms trailing only 32-29. Lester hit a pair of free throws to give Whitworth a 35-34 lead early in the second half. It was the final lead of the game for the Bucs as Montana answered with an 11-0 run.
Ahmad Rorie’s basket increased the Grizzlies’ lead to 60-41 with just under seven minutes to play. But Whitworth had one more run and pulled within 67-57 on Kyle Roach’s layup with 3:13 to go. That’s as close as the Bucs would get.
Roach added 14 points and 10 rebounds for Whitworth, while Ben Bishop added nine points and ten boards.
Rorie scored a game-high 21 points for Montana, Bob Moorehead had 14 and Michael Oguine finished with ten.