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Montana handed 1st conference loss by Northern Colorado

Posted at 10:03 PM, Jan 04, 2020

MISSOULA -- Northern Colorado handed Montana its first Big Sky Conference men's basketball loss of the season on Saturday evening, 74-66, in Greeley, Colorado.

Montana got a career-high 30 points from Kendal Manuel but dug itself into a deep hole early and played catch-up most of the evening.

Northern Colorado jumped out to a 16-3 lead after Bodie Hume caught fire right away for the Bears. Hume knocked down a pair of 3-pointers and was fouled two more times on 3-point attempts and he sank all six free throws to get 12 quick points in the first 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

From there, Montana began to find some life as Manuel was hard to stop. He scored 16 points in the first half on 7-for-8 shooting, including 2 for 2 from deep, The Billings product would eventually finish the game 13 for 16 from the field and 3 for 3 from 3-point range.

Timmy Falls found Manuel off of a lob to start the second half to make it 33-32, but that brief moment was the only time Montana led all game as Matt Johnson came down the other way and knocked down a deep shot 20 seconds later.

Montana would tie the game 45-45 after a Jared Samuelson 3, but from there UNC took off again. The Bears went on a 13-2 run, capped off by another deep connection from Hume, to take a 58-47 lead to make it another double-digit deficit for the Griz.

Montana got within 63-57 after another Samuelson 3-pointer with 1:58 to play, but that was as close as the Grizzlies got as the Bears completed the weekend sweep of the Montana schools.

Hume, who was last year's Big Sky Conference freshman of the year, finished with 22 points while UNC senior and two-time Big Sky defensive player of the year Jonah Radebaugh finished with 18. The Bears shot 45.1 percent (23 for 51) from the field and 10 for 27 (37 percent) from deep.

Sayeed Pridgett added 15 points for Montana and Derrick Carter-Hollinger added 10 points off of the bench. Montana was 28 for 62 (45.2 percent) from the field and 6 for 19 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range. Montana also shot just six free throws to Northern Colorado's 22.

Manuel's previous career high was 25, which he scored against Montana Tech on Nov. 18.

The game marked UM's fourth in eight days. Montana (7-8 overall, 3-1 conference) now has a couple of days off before it gets set to take on Eastern Washington (9-5, 2-1) in Cheney on Thursday. Northern Colorado (9-5, 2-1) heads to Weber State (5-9, 1-2) on Thursday.