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Portland State tops Montana in another defensive battle

Portland State - 2-6-21 (169).JPG
Posted at 5:26 PM, Feb 06, 2021

After winning an overtime thriller on Thursday, the Montana men's basketball team couldn't quite muster another comeback as the Grizzlies fell to Portland State 61-56 on Saturday afternoon in Portland, Oregon.

Derrick Carter-Hollinger led Montana (8-9, 4-6 Big Sky Conference) with 14 points while Michael Steadman added 13. Paris Dawson led the way for the Vikings (5-9, 3-5) with 15 points while Khalid Thomas added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Coming off of Thursday's comeback win, Saturday had a similar feel as points were hard to come by for both teams. The Grizzlies led 28-27 at halftime, but Portland State quickly retook the lead and held on for a majority of the second half. Up 50-46, Dawson converted on a 3-point attempt and Jacob Eyman added a dunk that put the Vikings up by nine points with two minutes to play, keeping them out of reach of Montana.

The Grizzlies used free throws to inch back into the game, and Cameron Parker made it 59-56 with 4.9 seconds to go. After Montana forced PSU to use a timeout on the ensuing inbounds pass, the Vikings were able to get the ball to Dawson, who put the game away with two more free throws to seal the win.

Saturday's loss was another close call that fell short for the Griz, as all six of Montana's losses in conference play have come by six points or less this season. The Grizzlies finished shooting 47.7% from the field and 3 for 9 from deep and 11 for 16 from the free throw line. Portland State finished shooting 51.2% for the game and 5 for 14 from 3-point range, while converting 12 of its 16 free throw attempts. The Vikings also won the rebounding battle 28 to 23. Montana, which had a season-high 24 turnovers on Thursday, cut that total down to 13 on Saturday and forced Portland State into 15 turnovers.

The Grizzlies are back in Missoula next weekend as they host Weber State (11-4, 6-2) on Thursday and Saturday. The Wildcats are coming off of a sweep of Montana State, the Bobcats' first conference losses of the season.