MISSOULA — The Montana men's basketball team was dealt an unlikely loss at the hands of Idaho State on Saturday evening.
But on Monday evening in a makeup game against Southern Utah, the Grizzlies earned a much-needed bounce-back win as they topped the Thunderbirds, 78-67. The game was a makeup contest due to COVID-19.
UM improved to 12-0 at home this season and won their 14th straight home game dating back to last season.
Southern Utah, the preseason pick to win the Big Sky Conference, shot just 38.9% from the field and went 5 for 17 from 3-point range and 20 for 26 from the free throw line. Meanwhile Montana shot 44.6% from the field and 5 for 16 from deep. The Grizzlies forced 12 turnovers on Southern Utah and also went 23 for 27 from the line.
Josh Bannan put together a career night as he scored a career-high 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the field. The Grizzlies found success in the post early as Bannan scored six of UM's first eight points, and finished with 13 points in the opening half. Bannan also grabbed eight rebounds to lead Montana.
Robby Beasley III finished with 13 points and five assists while Lonnell Martin poured in 11 off the bench, including three 3-pointers, and Brandon Whitney added 10.
Montana (16-8, 9-4 Big Sky Conference) remains fourth in the Big Sky standings while Southern Utah (15-7, 9-3) remains a half-game ahead in third. Weber State (18-6, 11-2) remains in the top spot, just a half-game ahead of Montana State (18-5, 10-2) with the Bobcats in second.
UM hosts Northern Arizona (8-15, 4-8) on Thursday and surging Portland State (8-13, 6-7) on Saturday.