CollegeMontana Grizzlies


Montana Grizzlies falter at Eastern Washington; Eagles clinch Big Sky regular-season title

Aanen Moody
Posted at 9:25 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 12:35:25-05

CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington clinched the Big Sky Conference men's basketball regular-season championship Thursday, pulling away from Montana for an 89-79 win.

The Grizzlies dug an early nine-point hole but rallied to take a 41-38 lead into halftime. The Eagles tied the game on an Ethan Price 3-pointer 10 seconds into the second half, and then the teams traded runs.

Eastern Washington first went on a 10-0 run to take a 56-46 lead, but Montana answered with an 8-0 spurt. Ultimately, the Griz knotted the game back up at 60-60 on a Dischon Thomas 3-pointer.

Eastern Washington, though, responded with a 19-6 run, and the Griz, who shot just 37.9% from the floor in the second half, were unable to recover.

Aanen Moody pumped in a game-high 35 points for Montana, making 12 of 19 field goals from the floor, including an 8-of-11 mark from 3-point range. Te'Jon Sawyer was the only other Grizzly in double figures with 10 points. Laolu Oke grabbed nine rebounds, and Brandon Whitney dished out six assists.

Eastern Washington was led by Casey Jones with 30 points on 8-of-10 shooting. He was also 13 of 14 from the free throw line. Cedric Coward scored 25 points, and Price had 12. The Eagles improved to 19-10 overall and 13-3 in Big Sky play.

The Griz made 14 3s in the game compared to just five for the Eagles, but Eastern Washington outscored Montana 24-11 at the free throw line. Montana had 23 fouls to Eastern Washington's 11.

Montana (19-10, 10-6 Big Sky) saw its three-game win streak come to an end. The Griz will try to get back on track Saturday at Idaho before finishing out the regular season at home Monday against Idaho State.