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Bannan, Whitney carry Griz to road win

13 Dec 2021 | 07:17 | Baseball

POCATELLO, Idaho – Montana used a 15-0 run early on Thursday, which led to a 64-58 road win at Idaho State. For the Grizzlies, the win snapped their three-game losing skid, while Idaho State – the Big Sky’s biggest surprise team, sitting in fourth place – lost for the first time in more than a month.

Idaho State held a brief 4-2 lead, but on Montana’s next trip up the floor, freshman forward Josh Bannan banged a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a lead they would never relinquish. Bannan’s triple ignited a 15-0 run over the next 6 minutes, 24 seconds, as the Grizzlies took a 17-4 lead.

During the run, Idaho State was held scoreless on nine consecutive possessions, shooting 0-for-7 with two turnovers.

Meanwhile, Bannan – who has elevated his game over the past several weeks, scoring in double figures in four consecutive games entering the week – was once again in double figures, needing less than 7 minutes to reach the mark.

Bannan scored 10 of Montana’s first 12 points and finished the night with his third double-double of his career. He scored 19 points in addition to a career-high 13 rebounds, making seven of his first nine shot attempts.

Montana led by as many as 16 points on the night, and by double figures for the majority of the contest. However, after a Brandon Whitney layup extended Montana’s lead to 52-38 with 10 minutes to play, Idaho State held Montana to one made field goal over the next 9:36 to get within four points, 61-57.

With the shot clock winding down and the ball tipped back near midcourt, Bannan wisely threw up a desperation heave at the buzzer, which drew iron. Whitney recovered the offensive rebound and laid the ball in to push Montana’s lead back to six points with 33 seconds to play.

Joining Bannan in double figures was Whitney (14) and Cameron Parker (10). Whitney was clutch down the stretch, scoring Montana’s final three field goals, including the second-chance opportunity in the final minute. In addition to Parker’s 10 points, he added six assists, marking the fifth straight game with six or more dimes. Junior Mack Anderson also had a strong night, scoring nine points, blocking two shots and stealing a pass, while playing a career-high 31 minutes.

As a team, Montana shot .447 from the floor, including .412 from 3-point range – with five different players making a triple – but bigger was holding Idaho State to a .352 clip, including .296 in the first half. The Bengals finished the game shooting just 4-of-24 from 3-point range.

QUOTING DECUIRE
(on the road win)
“The biggest thing was they handled adversity tonight. We got a couple fouls called against us early, but instead of hanging our heads and pouting, we stayed in it. Kyle’s (Owens) 3 was huge, and Brandon (Whitney) carried us down the stretch.”

(on Bannan’s double-double)
“Bannan played the way we knew he could play when we recruited him, and for him to come out and get a double-double tonight was huge.”

(on Montana’s 15-0 run early)
“We saw some things in the ball screen that we thought we could get, and that’s where Mack (Anderson) got a lot of his touches. (Josh) Bannan was aggressive in space, driving, mid-range jumpers and what not. Guys were doing a good job of being aggressive.”

(on his team’s competitiveness)
“We told them before the game to compete like it mattered. I thought guys did that tonight. Every person in the game competed, and the guys on the sidelines were emotional, cheering on those guys.”

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