Six in a row

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Any chance that the surging Grizzlies would overlook suddenly competitive Idaho State was quickly put to rest Monday night as Montana dominated the Bengals in every phase of the game.

 

The Grizzlies continued their recent domination of Big Sky Conference teams by leading wire-to-wire in dismantling Idaho State.

 

And the defeat of the Bengals is additionally important because of their recent wins over then league leading Weber State and Montana State giving Montana a sweep of a team high in the standings in case of a tie with the Wildcats for the tournament host spot.

 

But that's a long way away and there's plenty of wood to chop before that season finale against the Wildcats in Missoula at the end of the month.

 

But in winning their sixth straight in league and moving to 10 and 1 to match Weber at the top of the circuit, the Grizzlies kept the train rolling down the track with two road games to follow this week.

 

ISU had one more first-half field goal in the first half than they did in Pocatello with eight, trailed just by nine at the break, and made things interesting at the start of the second half to move within four points.

 

But from there it was a remarkable defensive performance by Montana holding the Bengals to just 17 second-half points and an overall shooting percentage of less than 25 percent to prevail easily by 36 points.

 

With just 14 field goals including only a pair of treys, no Idaho State player scored in double figures as Montana sent a message to the remainder of the circuit how domineering a team they have become.

Junior guard Will Cherry continues to impress with 21 points, moving to 24th on the team career scoring ladder and moved into the league's top 10 in steals as he closes for the team standard held by J.R. Camel.

 

But it was Derek Selvig who dominated play, not by any means with scoring with just five points, but in every other category.

 

He set career highs with eight assist and six blocks, grabbed four rebounds and a steal and drew the post-game praise of Wayne Tinkle.

 

Super soph Kareem Jamar added 13 and led rebounding with eight while Art Steward contributed 14 on his usual seven for nine shooting night.

 

Among the league's best shooters, Steward is connecting at above a 60 percent field goal pace in league play.

 

Twenty-three points came off 16 Bengal turnovers, while the bench, with Kevin Henderson matching his career high with seven points, outscored ISU 17-1.

 

Montana dominated the boards 40-27, outscored the outmanned Bengals 38-16 in the paint and connected on 28 of 54 field goals (51.9 percent).

 

That's a pair of wins in three days for Montana, now winners of 17 of 23 games this season and off to the best league start in a decade but the week remains arduous with an additional pair of road games Thursday and Saturday in Colorado and California.

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