Weber State wins Big Sky, advances to NCAA Tournament

RENO, Nev. (AP) Weber State knew it would be far from easy. Montana made sure of it.

Jeremy Senglin scored 20 points and top-seeded Weber State beat second-seeded Montana 62-59 in the Big Sky Conference Tournament championship game Saturday night and earned an NCAA Tournament berth.

Montana's Walter Wright missed a 3-point attempt in the final second that would have sent the game to overtime.

''It settled into a slugfest, which is what we expected all along,'' Weber State coach Ryan Rahe said. ''It was a great back-and-forth game.''

Senglin, who scored 31 points in an 83-78 overtime semifinals win Friday against North Dakota, shot 8 of 16 from the floor for Weber State (26-8). Joel Bolomboy, the Big Sky Conference MVP and finalist for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year award, was held to four points.

''We were prepared,'' said Senglin, a junior guard. ''Coach Rahe got us prepared in shootaround. Considering it was Montana in the championship game, if you can't get up for that game, then something is wrong with you.''

Weber State last made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2014. It's the Wildcats' 10th Big Sky championship.

Martin Breunig led the Grizzlies (21-11) with 20 points, while Wright had 18.

''It's a tough one,'' Montana coach Travis DeCuire said. ''We knew it would be a bloodbath going in. We knew it would be a physical game.''

Montana held Weber State to four offensive rebounds and outscored Weber State 38-20 in the paint and 14-4 on second-chance points.

The Grizzlies only got to the line for three free-throw attempts in the game. They converted on one.

With the win, Weber State ended its three-game Big Sky Conference Tournament losing streak against Montana (2012, 2013 and 2015).

''It's about time (we beat Montana),'' Rahe said. ''To be honest, they've been a little bit of a thorn in our side. But it's also because they're very good.''

Sophomore guard Ryan Richardson added 15 points on 4 of 6 shooting for Weber State.

UP NEXT

Montana: The Grizzlies have to wait to see if they're selected for the NCAA Tournament.

Weber St.: Headed to the NCAA tourney.

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