Star of the game: Kareem Jamar. Montana’s junior play-maker scored a career-high 28 points to go along with 12 rebounds and seven assists. His free throws with 18 seconds to play in regulation sent the game to overtime. He scored Montana’s first nine points of the extra session and had the Griz within a bucket, 87-85, with 2:20 to play.
“It was a great effort, the second half especially,” Montana coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Don’t get me wrong, I want to emphasize how proud of our guys we are for their effort on the road under some extreme adversity.”
The Griz were without leading scorer Mathias Ward for Saturday’s game. Ward sprained the arch in one of his feet during the game at Idaho State. Tinkle said in a pregame interview on KGVO radio that Ward might possibly be able to return by the Grizzlies’ final two home games of the season, March 7 and 9 against Sac State and Northern Arizona. His loss was felt particularly in the first half when Davidson’s Jake Cohen scored 25 of his 28 points.
Then with 4:40 to play, Will Cherry came up lame. He spent the rest of the game on the bench with ice on his right foot, the same one he broke back in September. He said after the game that it feels the same as it did when he broke it during a pick-up game.
“That’s what he says, but obviously we won’t know anything until we get an X-ray,” Tinkle said. “He said it feels the same, but who knows? Obviously, if that’s true, it’s not a good thing.”
Especially not with road games at Montana State and Southern Utah looming on the horizon. The Griz, who hold a one-game lead over Weber State in the Big Sky standings, will probably need to win their remaining four league games in order to host the postseason tournament for the second straight season.
“We have some concerns moving forward, with both Will’s and Mathias’ injuries,” Tinkle said. “The rest of the guys are going to have to step up. The guys who didn’t play too smart are going to have to play smarter. The guys who didn’t play tough are going to have to play tougher. If our guys can commit to that then we can continue to build and finish this thing off right.”
Tinkle was very impressed with the intense atmosphere inside the nearly sold-out Belk Arena.
“It was awesome,” Tinkle said. “Hat’s off to these folks at Davidson, and I’m not just talking about the college, but the community. Every one of them, darn near, welcomed us as we walked in. On the way off the floor, they were telling all our players and staff, ‘Boy, great team, great effort.’ The fans are loud and into it, but very respectful. Incredible atmosphere.”