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After forcing OT with buzzer beater, Montana Grizzlies complete comeback against Portland State

Michael Steadman
Posted at 10:21 PM, Feb 04, 2021

Robby Beasley III drained a deep 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded to send the Montana Grizzlies into overtime against Portland State, and ultimately Montana finished the comeback with a 70-64 Big Sky Conference men's basketball win over the Vikings in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday.

Four Grizzlies scored in double digits led by Beasley and Brandon Whitney, both freshmen, who scored 14 points each. Kyle Owens and Michael Steadman each added 12.

Montana trailed by as many as eight points in the second half and led for just 7:27 of the game while PSU held the advantage for 36:44 of the game. The Grizzlies went 18 for 22 at the line, including 10 for 10 in overtime to close the win out. UM overcame a season-high 24 turnovers to improve to 8-8 overall and 4-5 in Big Sky Conference play.

The game was a defensive battle, and Montana briefly grabbed a 26-25 lead at the break. But Portland State took over to start the second half and pushed the lead to eight with 15:44 to go. The game was back and forth from there, but despite the turnovers, Montana got within one point after two baskets from Whitney to make it a 50-49 Portland State lead with 3:12 to go.

As it has all year for the Griz, it came down to the very end. Khalid Thomas scored to make it 54-51 Portland State with 30 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Whitney was fouled driving to the basket, but missed both free throws. Montana forced PSU to call a timeout, then fouled on the next inbounds play. But on the play after that, Josh Vazquez, who has been known for clutch 3-pointers this season, stepped up defensively and forced Paris Dawson into losing the ball out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Griz, and Montana called a timeout with 14 seconds to go.

Beasley missed his layup attempt and fouled John Hall who grabbed the defensive rebound. But Hall missed his first free throw attempt, and Steadman grabbed the rebound and found Whitney, who then dished the ball to Beasley. Like Damian Lillard has done many times in Portland, Beasley, who made his first career start for the Griz on Thursday, launched a 3-pointer from the logo on the right side of the court as the buzzer sounded that found the mark, giving the Grizzlies new life and sending the game into the extra period tied 54-54.

Whitney scored six of his points and Vazquez added four in the extra period as Montana completed the comeback and breathed a sigh of relief in what has been a challenging season that has seen the Griz lose five conference matchups by six points or less each time. Derrick Carter-Hollinger led the Grizzlies with eight rebounds while Cameron Parker, a Beaverton, Oregon native, led UM with six assists in his return home. Carter-Hollinger and Steadman each tallied three blocks while Whitney added three steals.

Montana finished shooting 45.3% from the field and 4 for 10 from deep while out-rebounding the Vikings 41 to 37. Portland State finished shooting 36.2% from the floor and 6 for 29 from the 3-point line. The Vikings (4-9, 2-5) also went 8 for 16 from the free throw line as Thomas led PSU with 13 points.

Montana and Portland State will play again on Saturday at 1 p.m.