Big Sky ConferenceMontana Grizzlies


Eastern Washington blows out Montana, will take on Montana State for Big Sky tournament championship

Kim Aiken Jr. and Josh Bannan battle on the drive.jpeg
Posted at 10:53 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-13 02:14:13-05

No. 2 Eastern Washington wasted no time in dispatching the No. 6 Montana Grizzlies, as the Eagles topped the Grizzlies 78-50 on Friday evening in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball semifinal game at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho.

The win halts an all-Montana championship game as the Eagles will take on No. 5 Montana State for the tournament title on Saturday evening after the Bobcats upset top-seeded Southern Utah earlier in the night.

EWU brothers Jacob and Tanner Groves combined for 39 points to spearhead the Eagles' offensive attack, as Eastern Washington started the game on a 13-3 run in the first 7:52 and went on to dominate from there. The Eagles led 44-15 at the halftime break as Montana went completely cold from the field in the first half, shooting just 21.4% from the field compared to EWU's 62.1% mark from the field.

The 28-point loss is Montana's largest in the Big Sky tournament, the previous being a 27-point loss to Weber State in 1979, per stats provided by Montana. The loss is also the largest to a conference foe under UM head coach Travis DeCuire, with the previous mark being the two 14-point losses UM was handed by EWU earlier this season.

Cameron Parker led Montana (15-13) with 15 points and three assists while Mack Anderson added nine points. Josh Bannan led UM with 10 rebounds. The Grizzlies finished shooting at a 34.5% clip from the field while finishing 5 for 23 from deep with Friday's game being their third in three days. Eastern Washington (15-7) shot a scorching 56.4% from the field and went 7 for 16 from 3-point range. The Eagles also out-rebounded Montana 40-25.

The loss snaps an eight-game winning streak for the Grizzlies in the conference tournament, a Big Sky record.

The Eagles will take on the Bobcats on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the conference championship.