The Montana Grizzlies fell to Southern Utah 64-63 on Thursday night in Cedar City, Utah, in another Big Sky Conference men's basketball game that went down to the wire against the Thunderbirds.
Montana led 56-52 with 4:48 left in the game, but the Thunderbirds rallied to tie it 59-59 with 1:24 to play after Dre Marin knocked down 1 of 2 free throws.
Montana's Brandon Whitney followed up going 1 for 2 to give the Griz the lead, but on the ensuing possession, Southern Utah's Maizen Fausett was fouled by Mack Anderson on a 3-point attempt. Fausett went 2 for 3, but SUU grabbed the rebound on the third attempt, and Marin added two more free throws to make it 63-60 with 41 seconds left.
However, Josh Vazquez answered with a big 3-pointer of his own to tie the game with 31 seconds left, but John Knight III was fouled by Josh Bannan on a drive into the lane with two seconds left, and Knight went 1 for 2 at the line to seal the win.
SUU improves to 2-1 (1-0 in Big Sky) while Montana falls to 0-2 and 0-1 in league play.
Vazquez led Montana in scoring with 14 points off of the bench, finishing 5 for 10 from the field and 4 for 6 from deep. Michael Steadman added 12 points, while Kyle Owens also came off the bench and added 10 points and eight rebounds. Cam Parker led Montana with four assists and added eight points.
Knight led SUU with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Fausett finished with 14 points. Southern Utah finished 16 for 49 (32.7 percent) from the field and 6 for 21 (28.6 percent) from deep.
The Thunderbirds won despite shooting 26 for 40 from the free throw line. Montana was 9 for 17 from the charity stripe.
Fouls hurt the Griz as Anderson and Steadman both fouled out of the game. Steadman and Bannan, both of whom started, dealt with foul trouble early, paving the way for Anderson and Owens to handle business in the paint for Montana. After contributing big against USC, Owens played 30 minutes on Thursday, while Anderson played 14 minutes and scored five points, grabbed six rebounds and added two blocks after playing just three minutes against USC in the opener.
Steadman missed most of the second half after getting his fourth foul with 10:47 left to play. He fouled out of the game with just more than three minutes left in the contest. Montana was called for 28 fouls compared to Southern Utah's 19.
As a team Montana finished 24 for 49 (49 percent) from the field and 6 for 16 (37.5 percent) from deep. The Griz were out-rebounded by SUU 36 to 32 and turned the ball over 13 times to the Thunderbirds' nine.
Montana and Southern Utah will play once again on Saturday in Cedar City, with tipoff scheduled for noon.
Notes: Whitney and Cameron Satterwhite both started for UM on Thursday, a first for both. Whitney scored six points in 21 minutes of work after debuting against USC with 17 points. Satterwhite added two points, two rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes as well. ... Thursday's game was head coach Travis DeCuire's 200th as Montana's head coach, making him the fifth coach to achieve that mark in program history.