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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Montana heads to big dance

Associated Press

Kamarr Davis scored 19 points and Montana held off Weber State’s late rally for a 63-61 victory in the Big Sky Conference tournament title game Wednesday night at Portland, earning the Grizzlies (18-12) an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Virgil Matthews’ dunk with 4 minutes, 17 seconds left capped an 11-0 run and made it 54-44 for Montana, which has won six straight.

Weber State chipped away at the lead, narrowing it to 60-58 on Terrell Stovall’s 3-pointer with 1:03 left. Montana’s Kevin Criswell missed a layup before Stovall was called for an offensive foul on the other end and the Grizzlies got the ball.

Matt Martin made both free throws after getting fouled with 14.4 seconds left to push the score to 62-58, but Weber State’s Coric Riggs hit a 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds remaining to make it 62-61.

Davis was fouled with 2.8 seconds and added drama by missing his first free throw before hitting his second for the final margin.

Montana’s first-year coach Larry Krystkowiak screamed and raised his hands in victory as his team mobbed each other at center court.

Lance Allred had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Weber State (14-16), which upset top-seeded Portland State 71-61 to advance to the final.

Conference USA

Corey Santee’s 3-pointer with 12.8 seconds gave Texas Christian a 60-57 overtime victory over Marquette (19-11) in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn. Aaron Curtis had just hit 1 of 2 free throws with 18.8 seconds left to tie the game at 57 for TCU. Santee’s 3-pointer came after Marcus Sloan batted away the ball after a Marquette inbounds pass — one of the Golden Eagles’ 23 turnovers on the afternoon. TCU (19-12) relied on its defensive pressure to offset a horrid 15 percent shooting performance in the second half. … S. Florida 69, Houston 64: Terrence Leather snapped a tie at 64 by scoring with 26 seconds left, and the Bulls (13-15) held on and upset the Cougars (18-13). It wasn’t easy for South Florida in a game that featured 10 lead changes and eight ties. Leather finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Lanny Smith finished with 21 points for Houston. … DePaul 81, Tulane 71: Sammy Mejia and Quemont Greer each scored 18 points as the Blue Demons (19-9) beat the Green Wave (10-18). Quioncy Davis led Tulane with 17 points. … Memphis 79, Saint Louis 59: Rodney Carney ended his shooting slump with 23 points and Jeremy Hunt added a career-high 22 points to lead the Tigers (17-14) to a rout of the Billikens (9-21). Saint Louis never got closer than 20 points in the final 8:38.

Big East

Darrel Owens finally started hitting shots and Georgetown finally won a game. Owens scored all 14 of his points over the final 8 minutes, and the Hoyas (17-11) snapped a five-game losing streak with a 56-51 victory over Seton Hall (12-16) in the opening round of the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. The seventh-seeded Hoyas had to win to have any chance at an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. Their next opponent, however, is second-seeded and 12th-ranked Connecticut (21-6) in the quarterfinals tonight at Madison Square Garden. Jamar Nutter had 12 points for the Pirates. … Rutgers 72, Notre Dame 65: Ricky Shields scored 21 points, including the first four of Rutgers’ game-closing 8-0 run, and the Scarlet Knights (10-18) beat the Fighting Irish (17-11). The win advanced 11th-seeded Rutgers to a matchup with third-seeded and 16th-ranked Syracuse (24-6). Torin Francis had a season-high 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Irish … West Virginia 82, Providence 59: Kevin Pittsnogle scored 24 points, including matching his career high with five 3-pointers, and the Mountaineers (19-9) beat the Friars (14-17). Ryan Gomes had 20 points in his final game for Providence. The eighth-seeded Mountaineers will play top-seeded and seventh-ranked Boston College (24-3) today.

Atlantic 10

Jermaine Thomas and Mike St. John scored all 11 of La Salle’s points in overtime to lead the Explorers to a 70-64 victory over Massachusetts in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. La Salle (10-18), which finished last in the West Division, will play its next game today against Xavier (16-11). Rashaun Freeman had 19 points for Massachusetts (16-12), which forced overtime after trailing by 12 early in the second half. … Richmond 68, Rhode Island 60: Kevin Steenberge scored 22 points to lead the Spiders (14-14) to victory over the Rams (6-22). The Spiders will play top-seeded Saint Joseph’s (17-10) today. Freshman Will Daniels led the Rams with a career-high 22 points. … Fordham 65, Duquesne 53: Freshman Marcus Stout scored a career-high 31 points and the Rams (13-15) earned their first tournament victory with a win over the Dukes (8-22). Bryant McAllister, who was named second-team all-conference this week, led Duquesne with 19 points. The Rams, who finished fourth in the East Division, will play West Division champion George Washington (19-7) today. … Dayton 78, St. Bonaventure 48: Norman Plummer scored 18 points and the Flyers (18-10) easily advanced with a win over the Bonnies (2-26). Brian Roberts scored 12 points and Jimmy Binnie added 10 for the Flyers. All but one of the 13 players who saw the floor for Dayton scored and the Flyers enjoyed their widest margin of victory of the season. Dayton will play Temple today. Michael Lee scored 14 points for St. Bonaventure.

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