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A blog about sports in Montana, with an emphasis on Flathead Valley High Schools.
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Around the Big Sky: Griz Face Tough Test Thursday
Montana’s 14 straight wins ties them with Memphis for the second-longest active streak in the nation
A recap of recent men's basketball news in the Big Sky Conference from Assistant Commissioner Jon Kasper:

The University of Montana men's basketball team has moved up to 12th in the CollegeInsider.com’s Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, which was announced by that organization Feb. 11.

The Grizzlies (18-4 overall) have won 25 Big Sky regular-season games in a row – a new league record. Montana also set a league standard for consecutive regular-season home victories with 24.

The Griz are in first place in the Big Sky Conference with a 14-0 league record. Montana had two home wins last week, beating Northern Colorado, 73-63, and North Dakota, 78-58, in a pair of conference games.

Montana’s 14 straight wins ties them with Memphis for the second-longest active streak in the nation. Akron, ranked seventh in the recent Mid-Major Poll, has won 15 straight games.

Montana’s streak will hit its stiffest challenge this week as the Griz travel to second-place Weber State on Thursday night. The Grizzlies head to Ogden riding a record 24-game regular-season conference winning streak. They haven’t lost a league game since last Jan. 14 in Ogden.

Grizzlies Set Standards: Montana beat Northern Colorado and North Dakota at home to etch its name alone in the Big Sky record book. Including postseason games, UM has won 27 straight over Big Sky teams and 27 in a row over Big Sky teams at home. Montana enters this week having won 11 consecutive regular-season conference road games. The record is 13 set by Weber State from 1967-68 through 1969-70. UM hasn’t won a regular-season game at Weber State since Feb. 12, 2004. UM did beat WSU in the 2010 Championship game at the Dee Events Center. Montana has clinched a spot in the Big Sky Championship for the 12th consecutive season. Montana was 15-1 last season. Grizzly coach Wayne Tinkle has 80 conference wins, which ranks seventh all-time in league history.

Triple-Double For Saldivar: Less than 48 hours after recording a double-double, Northern Arizona senior Stallon Saldivar recorded the first triple-double in Lumberjack men’s basketball history. Saldivar scored 13 points with 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 77-74 overtime loss to Eastern Washington. Saldivar became the third Big Sky player since 2000 to record a triple-double. Montana’s Kareem Jamar had one last year. Weber State’s Eddie Gill had a triple-double in 2000. Saldivar recorded 27 assists in three games last week, bringing his career total to 484. He ranks eighth on the Big Sky’s all-time list and is just 19 from moving into sole possession of sixth place.

Cherry Third in Steals: Montana senior Will Cherry recorded eight steals last week to hike his career total to 254. Cherry moved into third place on the Big Sky’s all-time list. Nevada’s Kevin Soars is second with 255. Sacramento State’s DeShawn Freeman holds the record with 283. Cherry has at least eight games remaining to catch Freeman.

Eagles From Downtown: Eastern Washington rallied from an 18-point deficit with under eight minutes to play to beat Northern Arizona 77-74 in overtime on Saturday. The Eagles hoisted 43 3-pointers, tying the single-game Big Sky record. Eastern Washington also attempted 43 3-pointers in a 2010 win over New Home Christian. The Eagles made 14 3-pointers against the Lumberjacks, including nine in the final eight minutes of regulation and overtime. Freshman Tyler Harvey came off the bench and hit four 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 14 points. Prior to Saturday, Harvey had 17 total points and three 3-pointers in 14 games. The win snapped Eastern Washington’s 13-game road losing streak dating back to last season.

RPI Report: Montana remained 118th in this week’s RPI, unchanged from a week ago. Weber State improved seven spots from 136 to 129. North Dakota improved 31 spots to 248. The Big Sky remained 28th among Division I conferences. The Big Ten is the top conference, followed by the Mountain West and Big East.

Rogers In Top 10: Northern Arizona senior Gabe Rogers made 14 3-pointers in three games last week, to hike his career total to 216, which ranks 10th in Big Sky history. He needs two more to tie former Montana player Kevin Criswell for ninth place. Weber State’s Scott Bamforth mad made 207, which ranks 13th in league history.

Tip-Ins: Sacramento State’s Mikh McKinney scored 30 points in a win over Portland State. It was the most points by a Hornet since Loren Leath scored 41 on Jan. 13, 2009 ... In 49 career games, Hornet guard Dylan Garrity has 305 career assists ... Northern Colorado 13-of-18 shots from the floor and 16-of-17 free throws in the second half of its 85-72 win over Montana State ... Weber State ranks second in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage (42.5 percent) and is third in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (26.8 percent) ... PSU’s Aaron Moore recorded back-to-back double-doubles last week. He has six in his last 12 games ... SUU’s Jackson Stevenett has scored in double figures in 17 straight games ... Sac State’s John Dickson needs five blocks to become the 24th player in league history with 100 ... UND’s Troy Huff has scored at least 21 points in six of his last seven games ... SUU’s Jayson Cheesman has 53 blocks and is just 11 away from a single-season school record ... MSU played without center Paul Egwuonwu and forward Flavien Davis last week. Both are expected back this week.
 
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