The Montana men's basketball team let a 16-point halftime lead slip away en route to an 82-74 road loss to Southern Utah on Thursday evening in Cedar City, Utah.
The Grizzlies led 44-28 at the break thanks in large part to 7 for 11 shooting from beyond the 3-point line. The Griz went cold in the second half and shot just 36% from the field in the second half as Southern Utah erased the deficit and stormed back.
Josh Bannan scored 23 points to lead Montana while Robby Beasley III and Brandon Whitney each added 14.
John Knight III had a game-high 26 points for Southern Utah while Jason Spurgin added 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Southern Utah shot 50% in the first half, but increased that to 61% shooting in the second half. The Thunderbirds also finished shooting 7 for 15 from beyond the arc.
Southern Utah out-rebounded UM 38 to 27.
The loss was Montana's fifth in their last seven games after UM started Big Sky Conference play 8-2. The Grizzlies (17-11, 10-7) sit in fifth place in the conference standings, one game ahead of Eastern Washington (15-13, 9-8) for the final first-round bye. Montana State (21-6, 13-3), Southern Utah (18-9, 12-5), Weber State (19-10, 12-6) and Northern Colorado (16-13, 11-6) all round out the top four.
Montana welcomes Montana State to Missoula on Sunday at 3 p.m. for the second meeting between the two schools this season. MSU won the first meeting 66-59.