MISSOULA, Mont. (NDSU Athletics) – The North Dakota State men’s basketball team battled back from an 11-point deficit in the second half at Montana on Monday night, but the Bison couldn’t get over the hump after pulling within four late. The Grizzlies ultimately won, 60-53.
Montana is the reigning Big Sky Conference champion and was voted the preseason favorite to defend its title this season. The Griz own the nation’s fourth-longest active home winning streak at 19 games.
NDSU led by six at 27-21 three minutes into the second half. Montana, held to a season-low 19 first-half points by the Bison, exploded for a 22-5 run that put the Grizzlies up 11 at 43-32 with 10 minutes remaining.
The Bison battled back, going on a 9-3 run to get within 52-48 after a free throw by Deng Geu with 3:20 left. Montana got a friendly bounce for a Michael Oguine three-pointer on the next possession, and NDSU never got closer than five the rest of the way.
Junior Tyson Ward led NDSU with 15 points. Vinnie Shahid scored 14 for the Bison, and Geu added 13 points and six rebounds.
After the Bison held Montana to 32 percent shooting in the first half, the Griz made 59 percent of their shots in the final 20 minutes.
The Bison (4-8) return home to play Northland College on Wednesday, Dec. 19.